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FAQs about Featherduster Worm Behavior

Related Articles: Featherduster Worms, Polychaete Worms,

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

Let me in, let me in, whooo Oooh! Tubeworms can have a hard time "re-burrowing", making new tubes.

Unusual tube worm behavior     6/12/17
Hello crew,
I have had a largish Hawaiian feather duster for at least a year now, possibly as long as two years. (I spot feed it regularly, occasionally dose phyto and seem to have a decent supply of microfauna)
Recently it's crown has become a little tattered,
but since nothing is picking on it I assumed it was just preparing for a new 'fresh' crown. I would guess such a delicate apparatus would need to be replaced occasionally?
<Yes; these worms do regenerate/shed their crowns>
It also came lose from the shell it had been attached to (tube, worm, feather and all) which I thought was a little odd but since it continued to act normally I decided to move it after a few days to a new location, delicately placing the tube inside a hole in a rock.
Despite tattered feathers it continued to act normally (i.e. retracting quickly if touched, but open the majority of the time).
Today shockingly I have found the top inch or so of the worm dangling out of the tube (crown still intact) and this top inch appears to be severing from the bottom half of the worm, it's barely hanging on and it clearly going to separate soon. I am trying to get a photo but it has since mostly retracted back into the tube, with only maybe a cm of the worm still exposed.
My question is whether this is possibly some form of asexual reproduction, a horrible disease or something else?
Thank you for your time
<Likely a bit starved, but fine. Do read Re other folks similar experience here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/featherbehfaqs.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re: Unusual tube worm behavior     6/12/17

Thanks for the prompt reply however I had read that entire page before contacting you and didn't find another post remotely similar to what I'm experiencing.
<Ahh; thought other's relating of crown loss would be useful to you>
The worm is not simply dropping it's crown nor is the entire worm vacating it's tube.
Let me rephrase my question a little, is dividing in two a way of reproduction for these worms?
<It can be yes, via scissipary; though they do reproduce sexually>
Is there any possibility I will end up with two worms? Or is at least one half certain to die?
<Two worms are possible. BobF>
Re: Unusual tube worm behavior     6/12/17

Thank you Bob,
I had been reading about scissipary but didn't fully understand.
<Is a fancy archaic term for asexual splitting... as in the word "schizo"... Pary for reproduction>
I hope this is the case. If so I will send an update and hopefully some photos.
<Thank you Nicole. Bob Fenner>

Featherduster missing head    8/4/16
I received a feather duster a week ago. When I opened shipping the worm was out of tube. I researched on what to do. So I placed the worm by a LR and tucked it's tail under sand.
<The tube; not the worm itself... the worm won't likely live, but it may well regenerate another worm in the tube>
Next day it had pulled out and moved. I have tried to place worm several times in different locations. I even tried putting in a crevice in LR. Will not stay put. It has lost it's crown at this point but I can still see movement in the worm itself. So do I just let it be. Not sure what else to do.
<You can/could just leave the tube laying on the bottom, but I would place it such that it was wedged somewhat upright in the rock, with the base at least touching the substrate. Bob Fenner>

Chase... Featherduster beh.; no rdg.       2/21/15
Hi we bout a Hawaiian feather duster yesterday and when we put him in are tank on the side of his tube their are cracks and some kind of thing connected to it like its skin and it stays open all the time I look at your web site just didn't find anything about the tube with cracks on it and like skin falling off it so please help
<Ah; highly likely this is just part of the Worm... and their tubes do crack at time, and are under constant growth/repair; even the feeding crown/duster is shed, replaced. See WWM re these Sedentariate Polychaetes... their "behavior FAQs".
Good water quality, applied nutrition will see this animal heal.
Bob Fenner>

That is were I placed him would that be okay?
<Only time can/will tell> 


Chase       2/21/15
You get the pictures??
<You do the reading?>

Okay and mine moves is that suppose to happened and are they suppose to context to love rock?? And so its usual that it doesn't go it when we move around??
<Keep reading>

No I can't read it because the enter net is slow all I got that works is this and messages and calls

Okay sorry to waste your time bye
Sent from my iPad
One last thing some sort of orange blob thing came out of the center of the feathers what's we do with that do we that that out or leave it in??
Sent from my iPad

Feather Duster Lest Tube…What to do? – 02/12/15
I have search and cannot find a straight answer.
We have had a feather duster and is doing good. Enjoyed it so much bought 2 more. Well after a day of having the other 2 one of them just simply left the tube.
<<Happens…usually a reaction to stress (environmental conditions, pestering/predation…or maybe just the act of collection and transport)
Looks like a purple worm with its feathers still attached. It isn't dead. I can see it crawling around. My question is. What is going on with that?
<<As already stated…the critter is stressed>>
Is it dying?
<<It likely will, yes…can’t say I have ever seen or heard of one recovering in a captive environment after fleeing its tube>>
What should I do???
<<Short of removing and destroying it now, about all you can do is “hope” for the best and keep a close watch…remove immediately if/when it appears to be dead>>
Please help.
<<Not what you hoped to hear, I’m sure… Cheers, EricR>>

Protula magnifica curled up?     2/26/13
I got this red and gold (Protula magnifica) Coco Worm yesterday and it was extending fine at first, now it is all curled up? What would make this happen? My tank conditions are as follows:
<Mmm, likely simply/just being moved, acclimating>
Ph: 8.15
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Phosphates: 0.5 ppm(working on this)
<Not problematical. Be careful to not have zip. See WWM re>
DKH: 11ppm
Nitrates/Nitrites: 0 ppm
<No NO3? Need some>
Salinity is at 1.025
I also have another smaller one (I've had for a while) in my rock work that seems to be fine. It never did the curling up thing though? Could this just be acclimating still or what do you think is the problem?
<The acclimation>
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Protula magnifica curled up? & NO3 necessity     2/27/13
Thanks Bob!
<Welcome Annie>
How come you need NO3's? I have always heard to strive for 0 Nitrates?
<Ah no; chemoautotrophs and photosynthates in the system (the base of the food chain) need... BobF>
 Crossing ** my fingers that it's just acclimating still! Thanks for your help just wanted to clarify what you meant by "need some". Attached is also a photo of the smaller one starting to open (so you can see it looks much better than the newbie).

Feather Duster having the ability to rotate its plume colors every few seconds?    7/23/12
Hello My name is Tim, I recently bought a piece of live rock and living in  it as a bonus was a very nice feather duster. Over the past few days I have noticed that this remarkable worm has the ability to change the color of its  plumes to a beautiful shade of green at will, it does not change both of it  plumes at once, but only half, every few seconds (about 10) its other half will  change to green as the previous half fades back to the original color (white).
<Mmm, yes... colour due to diffraction... like a peacock feather...>
 I  have researched this and can only find a few references to others make note  of the same phenomena but no answers as to if this is a normal behavior or  something to be concerned about. Can your experts possibly
shed some light on  this issue?
<See wiki re the phenomenon... re grating. Bob Fenner>

Double-ended Bispira???     3/14/12
Hi wonderful experts!  I just saw something bizarre, and I can't find any reference to it in books or online.
<Let's see>
I've had several nice little Bispira feather dusters for a while.  They appear healthy and happy: heads fully extended most of the time and a lightning fast fright response.  Most of their length is slightly buried in the aragonite substrate.  This morning I saw that one of them had poked its 'back end' up through the sand and was sporting a fully expanded head!  I had no idea that these worms had two heads.  Is this common?  It sure does complicate placing them!
<This is actually two worms apparently occupying the same tube. Bob Fenner>
Re: Double-ended Bispira???   3/14/12

Bob - Thanks for the fast answer.  Two worms in one tube?  Fascinating!
<Yes; have seen and read about even multiple "break outs">
  I've got to find out material on these guys.  The write up in Calfo and Fenner "Reef Invertebrates" is pretty detailed, but I'm hungry for more details yet.  I've got to spend more time going through the online mag.s like Reefkeeping and Advanced Aquarist.  I bet they have some really detailed stuff.  Thanks again!
<There is a HUGE amount writing re Polychaetes... in the scientific literature. Maybe just Google Scholar will satisfy. BobF>

Feather Duster Question/Feather Duster/Behavior 2/13/12
<Hello Tina>
I have read tons on your website about Feather Dusters and still have not found an answer. I just bought my first Hawaiian Feather Duster (2 days ago) and am just glued to watching it! I have noticed that it's crown is almost always out and from what I've read I would assume it's happy.
<Likely, but do need to be fed.>
What I haven't read about though is them changing color...my Hawaiian Feather Duster is brown and white. I have noticed that the white part turns green!! It fades in and out from white to a light but very pretty green! Is this normal and what does it mean, why does it do that?
<Not uncommon. I have observed this a few times and I'm not sure why this happens. Bob may input here.>
Thank you!!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
~ Tina
Re Feather Duster Question/Feather Duster/Behavior 2/16/12

Hi again and thanks for your previous help,
<You're welcome Tina>
I have another question for you. I have attached 2 pictures of my feather duster (one of which you can see some of the green coloring) and was wondering what the thing that looks like clumped sand attached to it's butt is? It is attached as I have picked him up to check...could he be expanding his tube with the sand? Any ideas would be helpful.
<First, it is not a butt but a tube, and these worms collect sand/sediment on their tubes to help protect the tube from would be predators. In future attachments, try to keep the file size down to a couple of hundred KB.>
Thanks in advance!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
~ Tina

Featherduster excretion 12/1/11
Hi all!
<Heya Stephen>
Have a couple questions about Featherdusters that I've seen briefly touched on in the faqs, but was hoping for a little more elucidation. By the way, I think the only reason I've had any success with these guys at all is due to the wealth of information here so... thanks! Anyhow, I am keeping two Featherdusters (brown and white striped crowns, I'm assuming some sort of Sabellastarte) in a 55 gallon FOWLRAP
(fishonlywithliverockandpolychaetes!). The tankmates are a purple Firefish, copper-striped cardinal, and dusky Jawfish, which do not antagonize the dusters as far as I can tell. Parameters are all normal. The dusters are buried in the substrate with about 1 inch of the tube exposed. The crowns are almost always out, and retract only when I'm maintaining the tank or a fish gets extremely close. I spot-feed them Phytofeast daily or at least every other day and supplement with clam juice occasionally which I like to pretend is some sort of treat for them. The dusters seem healthy to me but I just wanted to double check that they excrete waste through the base of their crown.
<Mmm, yes>
Several times I week I have noticed a brownish, spiral shaped 'nugget' that emerges from the tube (maybe a few millimeters big). It's almost like an escape pod that launches from the tube. Am I right is thinking this is poop?
I don't want to be lulled into a false sense of security that they're getting enough to eat when this substance may be something else. I've only had them both about 8 months, so I know I'm not out of the woods as far as longevity is concerned.
<This IS a good long while for captivity... Historically most folks bump off tubiculous Polychaetes w/in days to weeks>
My second question is regarding their tube. When the crown retracts, the top of the tube 'deflates' a little; it seems a little flimsy. Also, the tube is tanish-brown except just above and below the substrate where the tube is actually a transparent purple and is even more flimsy-looking.
<Not to worry re these... unless there is negative growth... all is well.
Often the lack or imbalance of alkaline earth substances and alkalinity are trouble... but you're likely fine here>
The body of the worm beneath the substrate actually is covered with the substrate (which is aragonite) which is stuck to it. Should I be concerned about this?
I've read that they filter out the tiniest plankton as food,
<Mmm, no... Not the tiniest... a range by species of what most folks consider as "regular" size/types of plankters...>
the medium sized filtered particles are used to build the tube, and the large particles are rejected.
<As are smaller>
Is there anything I can do to help them beef up their tube or should I even be concerned?
Thanks again,
<As you've had these Annelids for eight months, and they read as doing well, I'm more inclined to ask you for advice re their husbandry. Cheers~!
Bob Fenner>

CoCo Worm Feather all Curled up 11/21/11
Hi. I purchased a very nice and healthy coco worm yesterday. It had been at the LFS for quite a while before I figured it was healthy enough and in good shape to take home. All my parameters are perfect!
<Which are?>
My tank is a 10gal
<Too small, unstable and likely not able to produce sufficient foodstuffs for such a filter feeder>
reef with mini 50/50 compact fluorescent bulbs and all of my corals are doing fantastic and have lots of growth!
<Ahh, good>
I noticed that it has been in and out of its tube all day and night, I guess it is still getting use to my tank conditions. I noticed yesterday that the feathers were curling, and not a slight curl, a very noticeable curling that even my husband, who doesn't know anything about keeping reef animals, knew that it shouldn't look like that. I did a lot of research on my own and found that sometimes curling can indicate feeding but it stays all curled up like that for quite a while and looks over curled to be feeding. Could my lighting maybe be affecting the worm? Is it maybe too bright?
<Could be>
The other purple and yellow feather duster I also picked up yesterday is doing perfectly fine! The coco is in a low-moderate flow. Is it maybe just still adjusting to my tank?
<Being so new; likely so>
Other than the feather curling it looks great. Reacts well to movement.
Thanks so much.
<Do read here on WWM re these animals: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feather.htm
and the linked files above.
Bob Fenner>

Hawaiian Feather Duster, beh. 9/24/11
I have a question regarding my Hawaiian Feather Duster. I bought it at my LFS about two weeks ago. For about a week and a half now, my feather duster has become nocturnal.
<More food available at night...>
Very rarely do I see it come out of its tube during the day (I have been waiting to see it out while I am awake so I can try to at least spot feed it). I have read many different sites and forums regarding this and the number one thing that is said is it is stressed or something is picking on it. I have been watching my tank very closely for a week now, and nothing seems to be bothering it (even at night when it is open). Because this tank is only about two months old, the only other livestock is <are> two clowns, one domino damsel (which I am trying so hard to catch and return to my LFS- a surprise gift from my husband),
<A meanie for sure... Dascyllus trimaculatus, not your hubby>
one Emerald crab (never goes near the feather duster), two peppermint shrimp (also never goes near the feather duster), Astrea snails, Nassarius snails, a green flower pot coral,
<Goniopora are not easily kept>
and a leather cabbage coral. This is a 95 gallon custom made tank and I have been taking my time adding anything to it.
Water parameters are good and nothing else in the tank is having problems.
Another odd thing that I have noticed is that my clowns are hosting the feather duster at night. I did not think that this would be possible because I would think that the feather duster would close up because of the clowns. Instead, it stays open for them. I have watched the clowns very closely with the feather duster and they do not nip or try to harm it in any way, they just do their little dance in the feather duster.
Is this an indication of anything?
<Mmm, not really, no. In time, with your offering foods to your fishes during "lights on" time, this worm will learn to be open. Not to worry>
The tube seems to be in good shape (No discoloration or softening) and is now securely attached to a large piece of live rock. What should I do?
Do I need to move the feather
duster out of the lights?
<Not likely, no>
Please help. Thank you.
Thank you- Jodi S.
<Welcome, twice. Bob Fenner>

Coco Worm - 3-months, no feathers 9/21/11
Hello! Three months ago I brought home a hard shell coco worm. His tube is a good 7"-8" long. Before I got him in the tank he had shed his feathers. Well, its been 3-months, and he still has no signs of re-growth.
I've moved him 3 times
<Don't do this>
in hopes of finding a good spot for him to no avail.
<A good spot... needs to be situated where food/particles are available, not much current>
I've decided at this point to leave him be unless someone can give me advice of something that maybe I have not yet tried. So, what would be optimal to promote feather re-growth?
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/featherbehfaqs.htm
and the linked files above>
As an FYI, when I look in his tube, he appears to have gotten fatter, so I believe he's eating. Do you think he would have starved by now if he couldn't eat?
<Maybe not... have known of these tubeworms taking months to regenerate their crowns>
He does hang out often at the opening of his tube with his 'lips' hanging over the edge. He's just as responsive as any of my other feather dusters, so he seems healthy, but I'd like some sort of confirmation that its possible for him to be eating without his feathers.
<The reading... Welcome. Bob Fenner>

feather duster question 8/27/11
Hi, I just bought a feather duster from the LFS. While I was looking at it at the LFS it seemed to retract back in its tube quickly. Well when the LFS owner bagged it for me, it mysteriously opened up about a minute later, which I thought was odd because of all the movement going on with the bag. Well thinking nothing of it, I took it home and took it out of the bag to drip acclimate it. While removing it from the bag, I noticed it still didn't retract... and it stayed open during the acclimation and when placed in the new tank.
Is there something wrong with the feather duster? It doesn't retract and stays open even if I touch it.
I called the LFS and he said this can happen if the feather duster isn't "afraid"... which I think is a load of crock. The other one I bought at the same time, opens and closes fine.
<All the Featherduster worms I've had occasion to work w/ in the trade, or seen in the wild... contract on being "disturbed". Bob Fenner>

feather duster, beh., fdg. 1/25/11
Dear Crew,
Thanks in advance for your help.
I added a feather duster into my tank a week ago and everything seemed fine up until 2 days ago. The worm came out of its casing (I feel due to a purple tang picking at the casing) and it seems near its tail end there was a hole in its body. The worm has since detached itself from what I assume was a damaged area and has moved to a new place in the tank.
<Both happen>
The crown is still attached and it is still alive as when I touched it to remove from my tank assuming it was dead it started to move. The damaged area also seems to be closing up.
I dose my tank daily with 3/4 cup of live cultured phytoplankton
<Mmmm... see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/featherfdgfaqs.htm
so I assume it is getting plenty of food.
<I'm not>
I also target feed just in case.
All my water parameters are normal.
Best regards,
<And read the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: feather duster 1/25/11
Thank you for the link and I will read up on it now. I just wanted to do a follow up as I noticed the little nub that came off the feather duster is moving on its own. Before I remove it I was curious as to whether this is just residual movement like when a lizard loses its tail or is this something living that should remain in the tank?
<Good question... I don't know. Have witnessed regeneration of "just" heads/crowns before though. Generally in "muddy circumstances". I'd leave in place. Not much organic component; issue re decomposition. BobF>
Best regards,

Feather Duster, beh. 7/22/10
Hello, I have searched your FAQ's regarding feather dusters and haven't found what I'm looking for. I love your site and often spend hours just browsing, so interesting. Anyhow, I am new to the hobby and have a Hawaiian
Feather Duster that has shed his crown (I understand this is normal) however I recently added a green bubble tip anemone and was wondering if this had something to do with it.
<Mmm, I don't think so; insomuch that Featherdusters "do" shed their crowns very often in the absence of anemones>
I guess what I am most curious about is that the worm is halfway extended out of the tube and periodically releases a green cloud. I was wondering if it was a possible reproduction method or what?
<Most likely repro.>
It has been very active and has extended his tube close to an inch in the last couple of weeks. Any ideas?
Thanks so much.
<Sounds like you have a healthy Worm! Bob Fenner>

Crownless Feather Duster Photo 1/14/10
Hi Bob,
My feather duster lost his crown so I thought a good time to take a photo showing what the actual worm looks like and also to give you permission to use as you like.
<Nice pic! Will post. BobF>

Featherduster broken from stem : help 10/2/2009
I have a 6mth old tank with a month old Featherduster. yesterday my chiller conked off during the day. When I came back from work, the tank temp. was 32.9.C
<Whoa! Toasty!>
The feather duster was not retracting and its tube seemed elongated and touching the sand. I switched on the A.C to cool the room. It is now almost 18 hrs. since the chiller problem and may take 8-10 hrs. till the new one gets installed. The temp. now is 26.C (WITH A.C after 18 hrs of high temp.)but in the meantime my Featherduster has broken off from the middle of its tube and the part of it with feathers is lying on the sand. what is the prognosis?
<Could recover... even make a new "head">
I have a 400 litre tank, with few damsels ,2 anemones, a hammerhead coral(which is spewing spawn),a brain coral, bubble coral, frog spawn(,all seem distressed ) and 2 starfish(.Can you tell me what has happened to my Featherduster, and will my corals survive this stress.
<Stress... and likely so>
Dr. Shikha Sharma
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/featherbehfaqs.htm
Bob Fenner>

Feather duster question. Beh. 8/20/09
<Hi Jessy here>
Hello. I have a question about one of my feather dusters. This morning it tossed its plume. Some have said this is normal and some have said that is will not recover and to toss it. I come to you folks because I would like a more reliable answer (not on message boards.) I also have head they do this because of tank levels. Here is a background on my tank.
60g reef, Hang on back overflow, sump (filter sock, ASM mini g, net with Chaeto and grow lamp, Rio 1700 return pump).
Salinity: 35
Specific gravity: 1.027
Mag: 1470
Cal: 480
PH: 8.2
Nitrate: 20
Temp: 79
So is this normal and it should recover or should I toss it?
<Losing the crown is normal and it will grow back. Please don't toss it.
Just give it time to grow back.>
Thank you,
Roy Stiles
<Regards, Jessy>

What is this Substance? Sedentariate Polychaete spoogie 06/04/09
Hello Crew At WWM!
I just bought two Feather Duster Worms today for my new saltwater aquarium and was shocked when one of them began to spew a bubbly white string. I'm fairly new to saltwater aquariums and especially to Feather Duster Worms, could you possibly tell me what this substance is?
<Without a picture it's hard to say... but it sounds like a stress spawn.>
<Sara M.>

Feather Dusters getting crowned 3/10/2009
<Hi Corey>
I just recently purchased a coco worm, the first couple of days it was coming out regularly and going in the tube when a shadow would pass.
<Sounds normal so far.>
Then on day 4, one the crowns came off and was laying in the bottom of the sand. The one crown would come out and looked OK. At day 6 the second crown was laying in the sand.
<Something is stressing the worm. What else is in the tank and what are your water parameters?>
In the tube you can still see the worm and on occasion it will retract up and down.
Will the heads grow back or should I get rid of the hard tube?
<The crown will grow back with time and good environmental conditions.>
What you will need to determine is what is causing it to lose its crown.>
<Please replay back with your water testing results and what is in the tank?>

Re. Feather Dusters getting crowned 3/10/2009 3/12/2009 Hello Mike <Hi Again Corey> I currently have in my tank is two Hawaiian feather dusters, green Ricordea, candy cane coral, two umbrella mushrooms, torch coral, fluorescent green bubble anemone, purple fire fish, fire fish, twin spot goby, orange spot goby, two clown fish, McCosker's Flasher Wrasse, Mandarin Dragonette, two peppermint shrimp, two hermit crabs, and a turbo snail. My current water conditions are. <OK, we have a couple of potential causes here. Peppermint Shrimp have been implicated in coral\clam\invertebrate sampling - this MAY be a possibility. You also have a few potentially noxious corals in the tank How is your circulation and filtration? I am a big proponent of using carbon in the filtration system with Zoanthids, mushrooms, and anemones. Lastly, Flasher wrasses are best kept in small groups of one male and a few females. You may have behavioral issues down the road.> Ph-8.5, KH-240 ppm, NO2-0ppm, NO3-30ppm. <Your chemistry looks OK, do strive to keep your nitrate levels below 20ppm though.> Thanks again for your help. <My Pleasure> Corey <Mike>

Re. Feather Dusters getting crowned: Stocking\Selection\Toxic water conditions\Reading 3/12/2009 Hey Mike <Hi Corey> One of my Hawaiian dusters is starting to loose its crown when I came and looked at my tank this morning, could this be the same cause as my coco worm? <Same cause, see below.> I have a 24g nano so my filtration is good and I believe my circulation is OK as well as I have sweeper. <How many gallons per hour? What kind of filtration, are you using a protein skimmer?> <24 Gallons?! I wish you had said that sooner.....At 24 gallons, you are severely overstocked with several inappropriate species. Lets review your stocking list again: Coco Worm 2 x Hawaiian feather dusters Green Ricordea <Mildly aggressive> Candy Cane Coral <Moderately aggressive> 2 x Umbrella Mushrooms Torch Coral <Does best in calm water, moderate lighting, and no other stinging animals> Green Bubbletip Anemone <Inappropriate for this tank> Purple Firefish, Firefish, <Two Firefish can co-exist in this tank.> Twin spot Goby, Orange spot Goby, <Pick one of the gobies> 2 x Clown fish <Depending on the species, one can be too many for this tank, two of any species is inappropriate.> McCosker's Flasher Wrasse <Inappropriate for this tank.> Mandarin Dragonette <Will starve to death in this tank> 2 x Peppermint shrimp <Peppermint shrimp are not compatible with anemones.> 2 x hermit crabs Turbo snail I have a male flasher wrasse, so will I still have behavioral issues down the road? <Definitely, this environment is inappropriate for a Flasher Wrasse.> <Corey, you really need to do some reading. Your tank is not sustainable as currently stocked. Start reading about corals here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cnidaria.htm Anemones: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm and Stocking: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stocking1.htm > Corey <Mike>

Hard tube feather dusters, beh. 2/20/09 I'm happy to have found your sight. I have a couple of questions regarding the hard tube feather duster that I recently purchased. After two weeks in my tank the feather began to curl, then went into hiding for two days in the tube (thought it died), it has now begun to release brown particles. Am I right to assume this is waste? <Very likely so> Also, it appears to have two separate feathers contained in the one tube: one is pink in color and the other is a light green; both sharing a deep red worm. This is the interesting part......the two change colors. <Yes... does happen> Together they begin to each lighten to a dull white and then they take on the other color. This change in color occurs about every 30 seconds and is constant. It's really amazing to watch, but is this normal? <Mmm, yes... one can guess that this difference might imbue some preservation value... to the individual, species. Bob Fenner>

Tube Worm Question... My tube is getting bigger, but is it hard? 1/15/09 Hello dearest WWMC! <Hello Sonny! Mich with you tonight.> I have a question regarding my hard tube coco worm, <Heehee!> I hope you can help me out here. <Some might think this rather obscene... > I attached a picture, because we all love pictures:-) <...but all us fish geeks know it's not!> I purchased this coco worm about 3 month ago, he seems like a healthy invert to me. About a month ago I noticed that the tube start to extending, but the "new" tube part had no skeleton around it. I haven't tried to touch the freshly grown tube, so I don't really know if it's hard or soft, but I am pretty sure it is hard. <Well I think whether or not the tube is hard is important info. Growth typically suggests health. However, I am not sure if this is calcified. I have seen growth like this that was not calcified. I am unsure if this is normal a normal growth pattern or not. So, I would definitely keep a close eye on your calcium and alkalinity levels as both are important for calcification.> Otherwise the worm part doing great, stays open day and night, and has never been retracted. <Mmm, these are not easy to keep in captivity as the diet is poorly understood. Hopefully you are doing targeted feeding with a variety of very tiny foods, i.e. measured in microns, and hopefully you have a well established refugium on your system.> I can provide details about the set up, but I was hoping that you might know the answer just by the picture. <Well the picture does show new growth, whether it is healthy growth? I am not sure.> Your answer is truly appreciated in advance! <Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.> Kind Regards, Sonny <Cheers,

Question regarding fan worm weird behaviors... HI, I have a question regarding my fan worms odd behavior.. I have read as much as I could find, several times...and I'm stumped, i am including pics taken today. <I see these> 1. my tank has been running about 2 yrs. The worms i currently have been in this tank a year. They are smaller tube worms one is green/yellow changes color and about an inch across, the other is pink, both came with the traditional brown paperish tubes. 2. months ago at different times. Both popped their heads, at different times. <Happens...> I figured this was the death knell of my beloved worms. <Mmm, no, not necessarily> The yellow green one grew his back quickly, and it is quite lush, the pink one disappeared. 3. pink one, i thought died, after not seeing him for months and his tube disintegrating, removed his old tube, only to have him reemerge couple months later, having grown a new white tube. ok, great news! 4. now the green one has left his tube, and after some time, regrew a white tube, both worms are barely above the sand now. 5. question is, what is up with all this tube rebuilding? <Mmm, is "what they do"... Perhaps this behavior has individual/species survival value... maybe it leads to dispersion to new habitats, avoiding predators, getting rid of "in-tube" hitchhikers...> I have no fishes yet, only hermits and snails, and 2serpent stars in a 55 gal. 6. question 2, the pink worm hangs out all over the place, like he hangs on with his lips to his tube and just floats here and there...lol doesn't seem shy about letting it all hang out, and not to responsive to light. what's he think he's doing? <Perhaps "looking" for another, better place to be... this species lives in "muck" in most of its wild habitat... maybe your adding some "mud" (there are a few products here) somewhere in the system, will help it/them "settle down"> 7. i cant keep a Hawaiian alive at all, not sure if they are bad when they come, or something I'm doing, I've tried 2x and don't want to kill anymore, so gave up. <These really live in "muck"... have collected them under boat piers... in filth...> thanks Jamie here are pics.. http://s217.photobucket.com/albums/cc128/laowaigirl05/fish/?action =view&current=pics012.jpg http://s217.photobucket.com/albums/cc128/laowaigirl05/fish/?action =view&current=pics013.jpg <Thank you for sharing. That these Sedentariate Polychaetes are alive, apparently healthy all this time is testament to your good, consistent care. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Question regarding fan worm weird behaviors... 12/22/08 Thank you Bob Fenner!! <Welcome Sunny> I appreciate it very much....this little worm has "issues" lol it has been nearly a week since he left the comfort of his tube. I keep trying to put him in rock crevices , or in the sand, or under a big shell, and NOPE he prefers moving around the tank. He seems to enjoy his nekkidness and has no intentions of building a tube. Im afraid any of the numerous crabs will get him. or the serpent stars...all are very good scavengers even though i feed them, I found my electric blue, whom has grown to gigantic proportions, happily munching my red Mithrax crab...ack! <Yikes!> anyway, they don't touch the worm, i saw one of the dwarf hermits, approach him and he gives this big twitch and they get scared off... its crazy. I wish he would cover himself! <Will happen... once it finds "its place"> If i put mud in the tank, as you mentioned they like mud, would it pollute my water quality? <Mmm, could if not done correctly. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mudfltplcmtf.htm and the linked files above> thanks and Merry Christmas Jamie <Happy holidays to you and yours. BobF>

New Feather Duster... beh. - 08/07/08 Hi, I purchased a feather duster a day ago and placed it in the tank, the next day I noticed that the fan wasn't opening so I moved the feather duster to another location in the tank still nothing happening. Then, I noticed the fan part open in the sand but not in the tube it came in. I just want to know if this is normal or when I tried to move it I injured it ?????? <Hello, feather dusters can take a few days to come out. They need to feel comfortable. I would leave yours alone and purchase some DT's live phytoplankton and add some to the tank. Good luck, IanB>

COCO WORM CONCERN... starved, dying, lack of compliance 7/31/08 HI I have a coco worm who's head has gotten small and it leaks out a white substance I don't know what's going on or what to do. THANK YOU FOR THE HELP <... The shrinking is due to starvation, the white material likely a 'last ditch' attempt at reproduction... You... need to read, and comply with our guidelines for proper English, searching before writing... Start here: http://wetwebmedia.com/featherbehfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Feather Duster, spoogie 2/28/08 This site is great. I have had a feather duster for a month now in my 55gal tank. It is attached to a small piece of coral with small mushroom polyps. I have search for the answer to my problem and learned about reproduction and mucous strings. This is different from both of them. The feather duster did spew a white cloudy substance, which is said to be reproductive in nature. Now, my feather duster is also expelling something different. Its slowly comes out and at first appeared to be a feather until it kept getting longer and longer until i broke away from the feather duster. up close it looks ribbon like, brown to rusty brown in color, and is fuzzy in a few spots. here are some pics of it. cant see the detail as good though. <I can make this out> what i have found out is the mucous strings are sucked back in for feeding, but this breaks away and floats thru the tank. Any help or suggestions would be great. Thanks a lot for your help. This site is very informative. Beginner saltwater enthusiast. Josh
<Is more reproductive product... Not to worry. Bob Fenner>

Coco worm has lost a patch of feathers on one head. 12/9/07 Hi crew and season's greetings! <And to you and yours> I have a 400 litre reef tank that has been running for over six months. The tank's inhabitants include two hard tube "coco worms" and two large feather duster worms. All of these worms are out for the majority of the time and are busy building new tube. Recently, however, the orange coco worm has lost some of the feathers from the base of one of its two heads. The pattern of this damage suggests that maybe the worm sliced these feathers off against the entry of its tube whilst retracting. <Mmm, highly unlikely> I'm wondering if they will re-grow and, if so, whether I can do anything to assist? <Good consistent water quality, feeding...> Are there any other likely causes of this symptom? <Yes... "senescence"... aging... These worms do "lose their heads" on occasion... and regenerate them!> Both coco worms tend to curl up their feathers occasionally but I understand this to be normal. <Yes> I feed live Nanochloropsis daily and Salifert Coral Food, rotifers, DT's phyto and other foods on an occasional basis. A 100 litre refugium is attached to the system containing a DSB and Caulerpa. Filtration is Berlin style with 40 Kg of live rock and heavy skimming. <Sounds very nice. I might punctuate, turn off the skimmer for an hour or so (on a timer) following the administration of the small foods> The water parameters are: PO4 undetectable (Salifert test); nitrate 10 ppm or better; nitrite 0 ppm; magnesium 1375 ppm; calcium 420 ppm; alkalinity 10 dKH; pH 7.9 - 8.1; salinity 1.025; temperature 24-26 C. <All read as good> Thank you all for taking the time and effort to produce such an invaluable source of information. I'm fairly new to this amazing hobby and WWM has helped me more than you could possibly imagine! <Ahhh!> Kind regards, Gareth <Do read here if you will: http://wetwebmedia.com/featherdisfaqs.htm Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Motile inverts... Polychaetes, anemones... 11/28/07 Hi Bob, <Nancy> I've posed this question to Anthony Calfo and he suggested that I contact you as well. <Okay> What, if anything, can you tell me about the motility of medusa/spaghetti worms (i.e., Loimia medusa and Eupolymnia crassicornis) and tube dwelling anemones (Arachnanthus nocturnus)? <I have observed the former to be marginally capable of movement, the latter (Actinarian) not at all> Are they actually motile? I've only found sketchy info on the Web that suggests that spaghetti worms may be motile and Anthony mentioned (which I've also seen), that the worms will move if they need to for life support, etc. There's a need to determine whether or not they are typically motile in order to include or exclude them in a benthic survey. <Mmm, I spent some time as an undergrad. sorting and identifying (mainly Sedentariate Polychaetes) for such assays... for USD Marine Studies Labs and Wendall Gayman's Sea Science Services...> I'm leaning towards inclusion since they are capable of moving, but thought that you may enlighten us a bit more on the subject matter. <I too would include these... they move little to not at all> Thank you in advance for your help. Kind regards, Nancy <Welcome, Bob Fenner>

Tube Worm... beh. 10/27/07 Hi there and thanks in advance for your assistance. After a week of introducing this tube worm into my tank it left its tube and hid under some LR but seems to be doing fine appearing most of the day and retreating as if there was nothing wrong with it. It appears to have started regenerating a new tube slowly so I'm guessing its fine. <For now... but these worms can be difficult to feed.> My question is should I discard the old tube <Not if it's still attached to the worm! If it's completely detached and just laying there, then sure, remove it if you want to.> and also would the worm benefit from being moved at all as it is kinda in a squashed position between the LR and sand bed? <Don't move it! If it's regrowing its tube, it's most likely happy just where it is.> Is this common behaviour? <If it's coming out on a regular basis, then yes.> Please see before and after pictures attached. <Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/featherreprofaqs.htm and here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/featherbehfaqs.htm and many other pages on WWM on these worms.> Regards K.
Sara M.>

Coco Worm with "heads" that change color! - 1/22/07 Hi Bob, <Rick> I have done extensive reading about coco worms and haven't seen anything like what we have. It is about 1/2'" diameter tune 6 or 7" long. When it is out fully, which is most of the time, the heads (2 of them) change color!. <Neat> One will be bright pink and the other fairly yellow then after about 5-10 seconds, the heads swap colors like an old fiber optic toy!. <Oh... they're (two heads are better than one)... just switching position... quickly> At first we thought is was our lights playing tricks or some other explanation but we have eliminated all the variables and the heads actually change color over & over! We used our digital video camera and got very clear pictures of it turning colors. It shed it's "heads" a month or so ago and shortly after the new heads started to come out, they started trading colors again. Is this a rare event or is it just not documented often? <The latter> It very much happens right before your eyes every time it come out. I would be glad to send photos or video if you're interested. <I would like to see your efforts here.> Thanks! Rick Oppermann <Thank you. Bob Fenner>

Feather Duster beh. - 12/12/06 <Hey Candace, JustinN with you today> I recently put a feather duster into a 10 gallon reef tank. Bear with me, as I am a newbie here. Today, my blenny was sitting with his head in the middle of the feather duster. From time to time the feather duster was emitting a brown colored smoke (or gas?). I shooed the blenny away and the feather duster sent up his "smoke signal" again and the blenny rushed right back and put his head once again into the middle of the feather duster. What is this stuff and can you give me a clue as to what is happening here? thanks <Sounds like you're witnessing a reproductive event for the feather duster, Candace! My guess is that its attempting to spawn, and the blenny is eagerly munching up the provided goodies! Nothing to worry about here, just enjoy! -JustinN>

Re: Feather Duster beh. 12/14/06 Thank you for responding to my question about my feather duster. If he/she is "spawning" what needs to be done (or not) to bring new ones into the tank. I have not been able to find much about breeding them. Thanks Candy <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/featherbehfaqs.htm and the linked files at top. Bob Fenner>

Feather Duster Partially Out of Tube 10/1/06 Howdy everyone! <Living It Up> Found a FAQ http://www.wetwebmedia.com/featherfaq2.htm on that page sent by Wendy Milonas that partially answers my question. I do so love this site! <Okay...> I have a large feather duster (about 2") that hitchhiked on my LR. I'm still cycling my tank (there was a very tiny ammonia [.2 mg/L] spike the first day but ammonia, nitrites, nitrates were 0 as of yesterday) and planned a soft cycle to help him make it through. <?> Yesterday I noticed some very strange behavior. He stretched out of his tube and kept reaching towards water flow. At most he was about an inch extended past the opening. So I moved him and he continued to stretch. I made an emergency run to my LFS to get anything with phytoplankton in it (I was planning on ordering DT's live phyto over the weekend for the little guy) and DT's was actually what they carried! So I dosed him according to their recommendations, even using a tiny pipette to shoot some directly around his mouth and right upstream. Still he kept reaching. I moved his rock again (it's pretty tiny) and changed my water jet spout or whatever it's called so that he was in an area of more flow but not so much that his crown was plastered against the rock. His tentacles/radioles are curling (I think they may have been curled when he was first in the tank) and now he is no longer reaching out of his tube, but has sagged back down and seems to be too large to fit through the tube opening. He (I don't know the exact sex, but he was named "Buddy" and it stuck) has never fully retracted, which worried me, but the latest symptoms lead me to believe he is sick or dying. <Mmm, no... not likely> Is there anything I can do for him? If it seems as though he wants out is there any way to help him? My tests are still all very good (or at least, that's what they tell me), and I have very tiny miniature feather dusters that appear to be fine in my tank. I just went down to check on him and he is reaching again, his crown not fully extended and still curling. Thanks for any help you can give, Meghan P.S.: I was a little disturbed to read through your feather duster page where you list food recommendations: Daily to a few times weekly offering of live (brine shrimp nauplii, rotifers...) or prepared foods (store bought or home-made) is recommended. Clam "juice", other "meaty" foods frappe'ed in a blender or smooshed with spoons or other tools applied in the general area (with a syringe, turkey baster device...) with most all particulate filtration switched off for the duration (@ an hour?). Your feather duster FAQs are all correct when they say that these worms are filter feeders and specifically planktivores at that. Most of the recommended foods do very little for them (clam "juice" should include phytoplankton, but it may be oyster eggs, I'm not sure) and unless they have phytoplankton in the water as a side addition, won't help. Just letting you know that the front page may need some editing. <Mmm... there are many such species of tubiculous Polychaete tubeworms... take different foodstuffs... I would not be overly concerned with the "leaning" behavior of yours... it is likely regenerating a capitulum/head... and will "toss" the current one. Bob Fenner>

Featherduster Worm Left Its Home - 07/26/06 Hello! <<Howdy!>> Love your site, thank you! <<Quite welcome>> I have read through your facts and could not quite find the answer I am looking for...my feather duster came out of his tube and lost his crown, which I understand can happen...my question is, he is vulnerable. I put him in a hole in the live rock but I am not sure if I should cover him or leave him exposed. <<Mmm, the worm should "hide" on its own if all is still "OK". But unfortunately in my experience, when these worms exit their tubes it usually means the worm is dead/dying...if the worm is listless/allows you to handle it then I would assume this is the case here>> I have hermits and a Sally Lightfoot in there that will probably not leave him alone...will he grow a new 'home' and how do I check on him if he is covered? <<Not really much you can do here but observe. If the worm is fine then it will re-emerge at some point...if not, then the crabs will make/already have made short work of it>> Thank you in advance... Kelly Lewandowski <<Regards, Eric Russell>>

Torn feather duster... happens 7/11/06 Hello~ <Hi there> Love your site...quick question. My feather duster has been picked at and now has a small tear in the side. The plumes are trying to come out the side. Do I 'cut' it back to where it is torn, or let it go? Thanks! Kelly <Leave it be... will regenerate... or the worm can/will (in good health) discard this "crown" and grow another. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/featherdisfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Help! Tubiculous Polychaete spunk 5/28/06 Dear Crew: <CS> I think I really hurt my reef tank today. Over the last six months, my uncovered sump had collected a large amount a detritus (or dust, debris, etc) in the bottom. <"Cleanliness is not sterility"...> Every time I'd move the skimmer or return pump a lot of this stuff would get blasted into the tank. So today a rigged a second pump to pump water through a second filter sock, and back into the sump in order to clear most of it out. When I stepped away, the tube fell out of the sump, practically emptying the sump. Since I could not get to my LFS to buy more RO/DI water, I had to use distilled. I shut off the return, filled the sump with about 5 gallons of distilled, and then salted and buffered the water. I kept checking PH readings, which were about 8.6-8.8 (I know, really high). Anyway, without any other alternative, I finally started the return pump, and when the distilled went into the tank, it clouded up significantly. My feather dusters feathers went really skinny, and then it released a milky white string-like substance. What is this stuff? <Spoogee... Uhh, reproductive products. "There's trouble captain, what do we do...? Abandon all tubes!"> And have I severely damaged my tank? <Mmm, maybe... but hopefully not too much> Many thanks. I hope someone can respond in time to save my tank. Chris <The eggs, sperm here will be eaten, taken out by skimming et al... Likely no worries. Bob Fenner>

Feather Duster/Behavior? 4/3/06 Hello to all from SC, <And hello from MI> Thanks for all the information found on your website. It's spectacular! <Thank you.> After searching for some time, I have not found an answer and have decided to email. This evening while cleaning the glass, I found a slimy looking black substance on the sand next to my feather duster. All other inhabitants are present and accounted for. The feather duster looks fine and is exhibiting normal behavior. Do you have any suggestions to what this might be? <None at all, not to worry.> My set up consists of the following: 12 gal. Eclipse System 20 lbs. live sand 12 lbs of live rock 10 lbs of dead coral from an aquarium of days gone by that cycled with this tank 1 clown fish 2 fire fish 3 mushrooms 1 feather duster 1 red foot snail 1 sand sifting star several hermits My tests for ammonia and nitrites have been 0, nitrates were up to 40 but are falling. My local fish store owner says that this is normal since my tank is just 3 months old. <Seems high to me unless your rock was uncured and cured in the Eclipse system. Do search/read WWM on nitrate control.> Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Deb

Feather duster Q & Cyano Q 3/17/06 This is my first time writing and let me begin by saying I love your site; thank you for being here! Our tank is only 4 months old (we're already amazed and addicted) and we use your site before every step we take. I apologize ahead of time if you have answered my questions already and I was unable to find it. We have had 3 small feather dusters in our 55 gallon tank for a couple of months. They have been quite happy and have been a joy to watch. The happiest guy now has a large pinkish tube overlaying the middle of his leathery gray tube, with what looks like several little tiny dusters growing out of it. What is happening here? <Growth... and reproduction!> Also, we have a Cyanobacteria problem and have been manually removing every couple days and feeding smaller amounts while reading up on getting rid of it. <A typical "phase" in such new systems> Levels are: Salinity 1.023, Calcium 460, Ph 8.2, Ammonia .1, Nitrites .1, Phosphate .25, and Nitrates show 0, although I think the Cyano is the reason for the low nitrate reading. <You are likely correct here> Weekly water changes are performed (8 gal). My question is, is RedOx + Liquid a possible solution? <A short term one possibly> If not, is there a product that you trust to assist in removing the Cyano without stressing our critters? <Mmm, no... not a product per se... though there are products... i.e., DSBs, Refugiums... macroalgae... that are of great benefit here> I again apologize if you have previously answered my questions. Thanks so much for your time and dedication! <Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Feather Duster Hiding Out - 01/22/2006 Hi guys, love your site, it helps so much! <Hello Stephanie. Glad to hear it! Those comments make our day!> Got a quick question about my feather duster. I know they can shed their crown if they get stressed out, but can they close the opening of their tube? <Yes actually, some can. I remember reading about this before, just can't recall where now.> I bought one the other day and acclimated him and then put him in the tank, but he hasn't come out and it looks like his opening is pinched shut. Can he close it himself or did it get pinched shut on the journey home? <Hmm...I believe it would be more of a "plug", the actual tube shouldn't pinch itself closed.> And if it did get pinched shut on the way home, is there a way to open it back up so he can come out or will that do more harm than good. <You don't recall if it was like this before placing in the tank? I would wait a bit more and observe closely (especially at night) and keep that water quality up. Best not to try remodeling.> Haha, more than one question I suppose :) Thanks! Have a good one, Stephanie <Welcome. - Josh>

Featherduster Worm 9/12/05 Hi There, I've looked at your FAQ's, but I don't see this specific problem mentioned. I have a 120gal reef/fish tank that is about 8 months old. The Featherduster was an addition about 6 months ago and has been doing quite well. In the last week or so, his "fan" has been starting to crumble, a little at a time. He still retracts when appropriate, but one by one his little bristles have been falling or breaking off. The fish are: yellow tang tomato clown percula clown blue/green Chromis yellow tailed damsel blue damsel sleeper goby eyelash blenny some hermit crabs and a couple of cleaner shrimp None of the fish have expressed any interest in the worm and he retracts if anything touches him. Water levels are all normal. Any ideas? Thanks!! <Feather Dusters can do this, and it is not unusual. If conditions are right they will grow new "feathers". Search WWM, keyword feather duster, and learn more about these creatures. James (Salty Dog)>

Featherduster 9/5/05 Hi, I have a 54 gal reef, with an Eheim prof II filter 30lbs LR 2 O. clowns 2 PJ cardinals 3 Chromis 1 yellowtail damsel 1 blue (Dory) tang and 1 yellow tang <This tank is not large enough for these tangs> a small rock of Xenia and another 9cup) pulsing coral and a new (25hr) Featherduster addition. numbers: 80 degrees ph 8 (working on getting that up) nitrite 0 nitrate 20 (a little high because of a recent multi-day overfeed) NH3 0 KH 11 OK, I scared my Featherduster to 'show' him retract for a friend, and he did. That was an hour ago and it seems the tube is now empty? <No> I cannot see the very base, but the leathery part is empty-i haven't seen him retract that far, and am afraid I did damage! I have read that they can lose their heads, (no pun intended) but I don't see it anywhere else in the tank. I am very upset that I may have hurt him! ideas? thanks!! <Time going by. Bob Fenner>

Tube Worms Q's 7/29/05 Hi! I'm Sam from Malaysia. The tube worm that I bought a week ago didn't 'bloom' like I first bought it. <Happens> It curled on the edges and did not stretch out fully. I've been feeding them with liquefied foods at least 2x a week. Another thing is are the worms sensitive to water changes <Yes, very much so> because I've adjusted the salinity of the water a few days back and while I was doing this, the worm drew in rapidly and out slowly a few times but after that it came back to normal. The last question is, is it a must to bury the base of the tube into the gravel? <For most species, yes> FYI, I have a 2x1x1 feet tank, 7 small fishes, protein skimmer, 3 water pumps, under gravel filter. Terima kasih. (TQ) Sam. <Sama sama... Please do read re tubiculous Polychaetes... starting here: http://wetwebmedia.com/feather.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Feather dusters 6/31/05 I read the articles in regards to feather dusters. They answered half of my question regarding the falling off of the head. I see the worm is still inside. Will it regrow another crown <It should> and most of all, what do I do with the crown that now split itself into two crowns? Do I take it out of the tank or leave it? <Did the crown actually fall off, is it laying on the bottom? James (Salty Dog)> Is it alive or dead? <If only "feathers" are laying on the bottom, you can discard it.> Denise

New to Saltwater <We all were once!> I recently purchased a feather duster worm (about 1 month ago). I noticed yesterday that it looked kind of sick. It had some curled edges on its feathers. This morning after turning on the light I watched it expel what looked like smoke from it's center. It did this on and off for about 5 min.s. It has been in and out of it's tube all day. What is this? <It's likely spawning, probably due to stress. Make sure you've enough particulates for it to feed on, if your water param.s are all OK it's likely lack of food. Stir your sand bed a bit, and possibly add some sort of micro\crustacean food, like marine snow. In a healthy tank they should be fine as long as you don't use a micron filter> Thanks Jeanne <M. Maddox>

Tube-ditching Featherduster >I have a Featherduster, and for several weeks it has been content to sit in the sand and come in and out of its shell, mostly being out so that the feathers were visible. I found today that it has completely abandoned its shell and burrowed itself in a rock. >>It decided it was no longer happy in the current flat. >I can no longer see its feathers. >>Usually, if they drop their "crown" they're rolling around for you to find. Target feeding is the best and quickest way to ensure they regrow the crown. Feeding may have been why it decided to move in the first place. Know also, though, that the "feathers" *do* indeed wear out (just like a bird's feathers), and they have to "molt" and regrow a new set every once in a while. >It is in danger, when I touched the one end that I could it did move so I believe it is alive. >>No, it isn't in danger unless you try to pull it out. They can "regrow" (re-form) new tubes as well, quite natural. Do target feed and DO pay attention to your water parameters. Though hardy as invertebrates go, they do still need decent water quality. >Should I discard or keep the shell in the tank? Help! >>The abandoned tube can be dealt with any way you choose. You won't be harming anything if you remove it, though. Marina

Coco worm crawled out of tube Hello Crew, <Howdy> Thanks in advance for your help. You provide a great service to the aquatic community. I don't think I'm going to get any good news, but I need to exhaust all possibilities. The coco worm which I've had less than a week has crawled out of its tube (I watched him crawl out). The worm seems mostly intact, but there is an area of breakdown at they very end of the worm. The cleaner shrimp went after him, I quickly transferred him into an isolation breeder. I removed the tube, the back (narrowest) part of the tube had quite a foul smell, the front open did not smell. I rinsed the tube with salt water and nothing came out of the tube. I put the tube by the cleaner shrimp hoping he might be able to clean it more (improbable but you never know. I plan to put the tube and the worm together a little later. Is there anything I can do to help this poor worm? Thanks again, Michelle <Mmm, actually... would have been best not to have touched the tube period. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/featherbehfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Hiding Featherduster >Hey guys great informative site! I have two feather dusters, a Hawaiian and the normal (giant?) variety. They are placed in two different areas of my 59 gallon tank. For the past week I have not seen the giant one out at all although I know it is alive because I can see movement in the tube when I attempt to feed. It did not discard its crown which I know is a sign of stress but the other feather duster has been out this whole time. This hiding is recent and previously he was out as much as the Hawaiian. The only thing I can wonder is he is located so his anchor end is in a cave inhabited by a shrimp. Is he getting bothered by the activity of the shrimp? >>Doubtful. They can abandon one tube and build another in a more desirable location. Food brought by currents favorable to feeding is usually what we would suspect. He may very well be out, but not where you can easily see him. >I was going to move him but when I gave him a gentle pull I felt he was attached to the rock, will it hurt him to move him now? >>Yes, you can hurt him (though the body of the worm isn't directly attached to the leathery tube itself). I would leave the animal be. >I don't want him to starve since he is a filter feeder. What's the best course of action? >>Let him be. If you're really worried then you can use a bit of airline attached to a feeding syringe to target him. >Thanks, Kenn R - Minot ND >>You're welcome, and try not to worry too much. Marina

Feather Duster Question Hi Folks, <Hiya Kathy! MacL here today with you.> Thank you for all you do. <You are very kind.> I constantly read all your posts. You do a great job of individually answering all of our questions. My concern is this: I have Featherduster in my 55 gal. tank. It has done well for 2 mos. Yesterday I just thought it was retracted but as I checked its "feather head" was laying else where on the tank bottom. I read all the articles posted but I am still confused. Will the "head/crown" regenerate a new tube? The original tube is still in place. <Generally they regenerate new "feathers" a new "head" as it were in the same tube.> Will the tube grow a new "head"? What should I do with it? Remove head or tube or leave both in place? <Personally I leave them both in place, but definitely leave the tube in place. You can remove the head if you wish> Your help would be appreciated. Kathy

Feather duster spewing white smoke? Hi, Spent an hour searching the site and then the web to find out what is going on with my feather duster. <You didn't look on WWM> It's spewing white smoke for the last one hour and the water is now all cloudy. Reason to be concerned? There is zero comments on this occurrence on the entire web? Any ideas? <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/featherreprofaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Featherduster worm adjustment to moving Hi Bob, Praise on your great book. It is my marine bible. <Glad to find it of use> I have a few questions. I bought a Featherduster worm today and acclimated it for about 20 minutes by gradually adding water from my tank into the shipping bag. The feathers are fully out, but every time I touch them or gently squeeze the tube, the worm doesn't pull back into tube like I saw at the fish store. <Likely just a bit of "settling in" at play here. I would not be overly concerned> I just stays out all the time. All the other Featherdusters at the store immediately pulled back into their tubes when the guy at the store put his arm into the tank. My worm doesn't pull into the tube. Is my worm ok? Also, do I need to feed the worm anything or will it just eat what's floating around it like a filter feeder? <Likely you will find a need/desire to supplement foodstuffs here. Please take a look at our website: www.WetWebMedia.com concerning these tubiculous Polychaetes... you can search on the site with the terms Featherduster, feeding.> Changing the subject from worms.... I have a 10 gallon quarantine tank in which I always keep 2 Chromis and live rock. Is it necessary to always have these fish in the quarantine tank to provide the fuel/waste for the nitrifying bacteria or can I leave the tank fishless when I'm not quarantining? <Likely fine to leave fishless... move a bit of the water, filter media from your established tank if/when you use it> My last question has to do with always keeping a sponge filter in the main tank to accumulate a supply of nitrifying bacteria in case I need to put the sponge filter into the quarantine tank. (As Scott says in his Beating Ich on two fronts article) Do I need to have the pump on running to the filter sponge or can I just leave the sponge without hooking up a pump? <Best to leave it hooked up... running> Thanks very much, I appreciate your time Ed Kraselnik <Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Feather Duster worm emitted web-like substance when moved - did I kill it Dear Bob: <Anthony Calfo in your service> After checking your site I can't find anything on this problem (I could have missed something, though - I apologize if this is already covered elsewhere). I have a cow fish that suddenly began eating my feather duster worm. <really a natural thing for this fish to do... you were lucky to make it as far as you did without a bushwhack> In an effort to give the feather duster a fighting chance, I tried to relocate the feather duster in between two live rocks. I was hoping the horns on the cow fish would make it not fit between the rocks and put the worm just out of reach. <interesting> Well... I picked up the worm and found it attached to a piece of rock. No problem - I took the rock too. When I sat the rock down I may have squashed a small part of the worm/tube that was attached (is that actually the worm or part of the tube?) <yes...the worm is always hidden...we see the feathery gills/feeding apparatus> Within seconds there was a ton of cobweb-like stuff floating through the tank. All the livestock is wrapped in it and they aren't happy. <issued under stress or otherwise as a feeding strategy (mucosal nets...but not this time)> The worm is partially sticking out (about 3/4") and doesn't retract when I touch the tube. Did I kill him?? <very stressed or dead, yes> I am going to continue to watch him for now and hope for the best. <if dead, it will "rot" quickly...please do remove> Also, could you tell me if it's normal for a cow fish to lose the tips of it's "horns", ours has lost them all in the last week. Is it possible it's sick? <very possible... I truly wish most cowfish were not imported. They have very specific needs in captivity and belong in species specific tanks in my opinion. Most die within two years if they even make to see one> We've been feeding a mixture of flake food and freeze-dried brine shrimp. Could it be a lacking something it needs nutritionally? <yes, my friend... the diet is woefully deficient. Feed very little brine shrimp (nutritionally barren) and go much heavier on substantive meats (Mysid, krill, etc). If you haven't already done so... please read Bob's book, "Conscientious Marine Aquarist" and focus on sections covering feeding (including homemade foods) and how to handle challenging species> Your site is truly awesome. I will be adding it to my web site (http://www.animal-pages.com) to make sure more people know about it. Thank you so much for any help you can offer. Wendy Milonas <best regards, my dear. Anthony Calfo>

Feather Duster in Hiding Hi, Just a quick question. I've had my Hawaiian Featherduster for about a week and a half now. From the first time I put him in to about 3 days ago, he was out all the time. Since, it has been 3 days and no feathers, should I be concerned? <I would just watch and wait at this point. Nothing much else you could do, now.> The crown was not expelled and the tube still does feel somewhat firm. <Good signs> I have a yellow tang, blue tang, coral beauty, chocolate chip starfish, and 2 lionfish sharing the tank. <The Coral Beauty Angelfish and Chocolate Chip Starfish both have the potential to prey upon your Featherduster.> I haven't noticed anyone picking at the feathers, but then again, the coral beauty was hiding until about a day or two ago. Is her appearance keeping the worm in hiding? <Not merely her appearance, but she could be feeding on the Featherduster when you were not looking.> Any help is appreciated. Chris <Perhaps try to lure it out with food. Please search through the www.WetWebMedia.com archives for information. -Steven Pro>

Featherdusters and regeneration Hi, Bob. <<Hi, JasonC here today.>> I am 3 months old to marine aquariums. <<Welcome to the hobby.>> I have a very small (8 gallon) tank with 2 fish, 2 feather dusters, 2 hermit crabs, and 3 snails. <<Wow, that is small... you've picked the hard way to introduce yourself to marine aquariums. Smaller systems tend to take much more diligence to keep them stable.>> Recently the 2 feather dusters blew their feathers, one by one. I saw that the first feather duster's worm was still alive because he occasionally extended out of his stalk. So I am leaving him alone hoping he will grow more feathers. After the second feather duster blew his feathers, the worm actually crawled out of his stalk onto the sand and covered himself all over with it. He was fine for 2 days, and then I saw his head poke out of the sand while his body was still covered. That evening when I came home, I saw the two hermit crabs eating away at his head! His head became frayed. But now he seems to be covered all over with sand again. I have three questions. First, will he regenerate and have a chance of survival? <<It seems unlikely to me, but there is always that chance, albeit a remote one.>> Second, the worm in the stalk of the first feather duster hasn't peeked out lately -- how do I know if he is still alive? <<No way to actually know for certain, but most times in captive systems, after they shed their 'feathers' they are all done, I'm sorry to say.>> Finally, should I remove anything in order to protect the tank from pollution? <<Remove any loose bits - the crabs will likely take care of the rest.>> Thanks! Marleen. <<Cheers, J -- >>

Duster Worm Hi WWM fellows!, <cheers, Carlos!> Recently I bought a giant feather duster Sabellastarte. It is a nice specimen, <a beautiful creature, but please don't buy too many of these... they are difficult to feed and keep alive for their full lifespan. They feed on nanoplankton which most tanks cannot provide much or any of. Most of these feathers hang on for a year or two before starving to death. Having a fishless refugium inline on the system will be a great help for producing needed planktons> it has now been 2 weeks in my main tank and still open all the time, night and day. It closes just when a fish is too close or something disturbs the tank. <good behavior> My concern is that sometimes I can see a white substance coming out from its mouth? in the middle of his crown. <those feathers/fan are feeding gills> It is like gummy or a elastic white substance, is it normal or is reacting against something... <likely just mucous... a feeding strategy used to trap food particles. The animals sucks it back in and feeds on the trapped particles> One or Two times a week I move the substrate, he looks "happy" when I do that! <yes... very helpful for feeding this worm. You are doing fine!> Greetings Carlos Dz <salute. Anthony>

Come on Feather Duster.. Open Up!! 2/22/03 <Hey there! Phil with ya today.> Yesterday I purchased 2 feather dusters, I brought them home and set them up. I did the acclimation by floating them to adjust the temp, then took out some of the water and replace it with tank water. I did that routine 3x. Both dusters were "extended" in the bag as it acclimated. I placed them in the tank an the brown/white one immediately was out, the pink and white one however has not emerged since. This was since yesterday about 2pm, it is now about 9am the next day... any suggestions, tips or anything. could this be normal? <Could take a few days to a week or maybe a bit more!> I have had one duster for about a yr with no problems?? <It just takes some time for the animals to adjust.> Thanks Denise <No problem, if there is no movement in a few more days there is a good chance it may be dead by now. These little guys can hang on for a while so I doubt anything bad has happened, just adjusting. Hope this helps and good luck! Phil>

Hawaiian Feather Duster Hello, I have a Hawaiian Feather Duster and it's tentacles are curled at the ends. What is happening? How can I fix it? <It will likely be fine, as they often curl them somewhat. Cody>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feather Duster Question Hey Bob, <Hello> Hannah from Nova Scotia, Canada chatting to ya now. I've read your web site, and the FAQ's for many things already, but not sure on this one....we bought a Hawaiian Feather Duster from our "good" LFS a few months back....we placed him low in the tank, and all was fine. He blew his crown, ran to your web site and learned all was "ok".... <Generally> we have since added more live rock, a few more fish, and of course I had to rearrange the rock (didn't like the way they looked, didn't look 'real'), but before I did that, his tube was slowly disappearing, and the next day I noticed him hiding behind one of the rocks beside his tube....I pulled the tube and kept an eye on him for the next few days. All was fine until I couldn't find him (this was my excuse to DH to change the rocks around), and low-and-be-hold there he was....no tube yet...but he was still alive. Now it's been about 2 months later and he is still kicking, but no tube yet??? <Takes a while, materials, food...> and his feathers still aren't fully back......not sure what to do...He used to love to be fed, along with my anemone, green open brain, Octobubble...but I can't get to him now (way in back under egg-crate)......would you mind being so generous as to share your wealth of knowledge on this for me..... <Leave this animal be... and try not to be too fastidious about keeping the system "clean". Cleanliness is not sterility> Tanks Specs: 66 gal @70lbs live rock temp 79 1 5500 MH 2 10000 reg fluor 3 actinics 303 Fluval biological filter 15 gal sump w/carbon bags, live sand, snails red sea prism protein skimmer mult power heads levels are all 0 1 purple tip anemone 1 Octobubble (which was pretty near gone, but looks nice and perky now) 1 green open brain (you should see this thing after feeding time......WOW) 1 md size green star polyps 1 sm size green start polyps 1 candy cane 1 leather devil fingers yellow polyps 4 bunches of anthelia 1 sm bunch of xenia 2 green/purple Ricordea mushrooms 1 small mushroom (red with a bit of green tint....but only one??) multi snails multi hermit crabs 2 black serpent stars 1 red crab 1 green emerald 1 yellow Sailfin tang 1 electric blue damsel 1 domino damsel 1 clarkii clown (actually looks like and arf/arf of clarkii and allardi) he also prefers to play in the md size green star polyps then the anemone..... 1 Banggai cardinal 1 green mandarin (my baby ! ) 1 tubeless Hawaiian feather duster I hope I didn't leave any information out....If I did. you can yell at me later...... TIA for any help you can offer...... <Thanks for your frank and enjoyable write-up... do leave off with the carbon filtration, and try not to worry, or move things around. This "duster" will likely regenerate in time. Bob Fenner> Hannah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feather duster splitting? 5/27/04 I need info on reproduction on feather dusters ? don't know if they are splitting. had them for two weeks first ones I have had. <we commonly get queries about new feather dusters losing their "heads"/feathers and mistaken for reproduction. If so, this is stress, and it may grow back in weeks time. Otherwise, do browse our FAQs on this subject (go to www.WetWebMedia.com and type in "Featherduster" in the search field of the Google tool on that page... many links to follow). For specific reproduction info, look for the published works of Ron Shimek online... we has written much on Polychaetes. We also cover this group in detail in our new book "Reef Invertebrates". But do begin simply by browsing our archives. Best regards, Anthony>

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