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FAQs about Featherduster Worm Disease/Health

Related Articles: Featherduster Worms, Polychaete Worms

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

Some fishes (as individuals, species) will pick on Dusters. Amphiprion percula (Lacepede 1802), the "True" Percula or Orange Clownfish.

Feather Duster Worm, hlth.   3/19/13
Bob and Crew,
So I purchased a feather duster worm online and when it got to me it had shed its tube.
<Not atypical>
 So I placed it in my tank (after acclimation of course) and waited for it to rebuild it's tube, however he's been out of the tube for maybe 3 weeks now and hasn't built anything?
<It may be too weak to do so>
 I have tested the parameters and even check the calcium thinking it may be too low for him to build a tube...not the case in fact my calcium was right in the 410 range?
<Not likely a calcium issue. Some tubeworms use directly, but not the species used most in the trade>
So what gives? He likes to be naked or what? I am worried he's going to get picked on or even worse die without a tube. Let me know what your thoughts are. He still has his crown too.
<Do you have the olde tube? If not, a small (a couple inches) section of 1/2" PVC pipe... place this mostly upright and insert the worm in this...
Bob Fenner>

Trouble with Fanworm 4/29/12
<Hello Jeff and Sue>
I have had a fan worm in my 65gal mixed reef for about 6months.
The only way I have been able to keep it from being picked at by my Yellow Tang and clown fish has been to keep a plastic case with holes all over it over the worm. It has had a beautiful crown as long as it is covered.
Yesterday I noticed that my snails were picking at it and the crown looked ragged.
<Picking on the tube itself, correct?>
This morning the crown has disappeared and I can see the tube under the rock.
<The fans generally grow back providing they are not constantly picked on.
Fan worms are best kept with species that ignore them.>
I have done so much reading about these creatures and I find nothing to tell me why my tank inhabitants keep picking at it.
<Some animals find the fans a delicacy. Most butterfly fish will go after the fans as well as some wrasses, basses, trigger fish, shrimps, crabs, and angelfish.>
I am getting ready to transfer my tank into a 150 gal that I have been cycling and am concerned about whether I should even try to transfer the Fan worm. My tank is well fed, all parameters are within normal range. I run with 20g sump, algae scrubber, protein skimmer and Phos reactor. tank is ro/di. I would be happy to finally find out what is going on here.
<Mmm, nature is taking it's course here. If you wish to keep fan worms you will need to choose tankmates carefully. Have you been here yet?
James (Salty Dog)>

Two Feather duster worms and blood shrimp gone on same day 1/11/12
<Hi Janice>
We have a 55 gallon salt water tank with about 53 pounds of live rock and live sand.  About a month ago we added a blood shrimp and two feather duster worms.  The blood shrimp stayed hidden in the rock from the day we put him in there.  The feather duster worms did great. However, over this past weekend we woke up in the morning to the blood shrimp dead.
<Mmm, are you sure it's not the skeleton from a molt?>
One feather duster was hanging out of his tube and eventually lost his crown.  That same day the other feather duster was hanging almost completely out of his tube and also lost his crown.  Not sure if either worm are back in their tube.  If I had to guess I would say they are not. 
Also there was this spider web like string floating in the tank.
<Have you since taken an ammonia test?  Did any foreign substance find it's way into the water that you are aware of?  Were these animals fed properly?
 There is generally not enough food in a system to sustain tubeworms and cleaner shrimp and supplemental feeding must be done.>
We have two clowns, one damsel, one yellow tang, four Chromis and one scooter blenny which all appear fine.  We added some coral on Christmas eve.  We checked the water levels and everything was perfect.  Really confused on what happen.  Hoping maybe you can give some insight.
<I do suggest reading/learning here and related FAQs/articles.
Thank you,
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
Janice Waters
Re Two Feather duster worms and blood shrimp gone on same day 1/11/12

Thank you.
<You're welcome Janice.>
I had checked out both the sites you recommended and found them very helpful.  Not the skeleton :(  He had molted two times previously. No ammonia either. The only test we do not have is the calcium?
<For future reference it is a good idea to dose iodine when keeping crustaceans.  It makes molting a little easier for them.>
I'm assuming that they didn't get enough food.
<More than likely.>
We did not supplement their food.  We feed twice a day dry flake food and some pellets for the blenny and once a week some frozen brine shrimp.  We have a power head as well to help circulate everything.  The live rock as plenty of healthy algae that the tang and other fish munch on as well.
Thank you for your advice.
<You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>
 Greatly appreciated.
Janice Waters

My Fan Worm is shrinking   8/27/09
Hi, i hope you can help, my fan worm is getting smaller, i witnessed it retracting then approx 5mm of the end of it just fell off.
<Happens... esp. in conditions of nutrient unavailability, overall "too much" stress>
It's popping out and retracting perfectly fine, the other end is not growing, i have it in my substrate (crushed coral), would i benefit by changing the substrate to sand?
<Mmm, maybe... what do your biomineral and alkalinity tests show you?>
I have spent many hours in front of my tank to see if it is any of its tank mates but the only things that get close are my 2 hermit crabs (1 red legged and 1 blue knuckle) and even then they don't really bother with it.
My tank is a 64lt nano, running 2.5 months, occupants are 2 hermit crabs mentioned above, 1 cleaner shrimp, 2 turbo snails, 2 juvenile common clowns, 1 white rayed shrimp goby.
Temp runs between 26-27 degrees
PH 8.1
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 0
<Need this last>
Don't have test kits for Phos or Calcium yet, will get in next few days I have 8kg of live rock in tank, 1.5kg in filter with Phoszorb and Chemzorb.
<I would not run these... See WWM re>
Hope you can help.
Regards Ant
<... Please search, read on WWM... Perhaps starting here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Feather Duster Damage 12/22/08 Hello crew, Been a long time since I've had to e-mail. Well.. This may not be relevant, but I should start at the beginning. The week before Thanksgiving I moved. I live in Wisconsin and it was not anywhere near warm here! Despite my efforts to rip down my tank, get it to its new location and set it back up as quickly as possible (in 15 degree weather.) I lost my more fragile fish before I could get them back in the tank, which was down about 3 hours total, from start to finish. I still had crabs, snails, 2 choco stars, a cucumber, a feather duster, and a few damsels that made it thru the water temp dropping 10 degrees. <Aww I'm sorry to hear this!> So I got who was left all comfy again and my heater must of gotten damaged during the move and malfunctioned during that night, I got up in the morning and my water temp was 95 degrees. The rest of my fish had suffocated and the snails were slow cooked, and my feather duster gone (eaten by the starfish I assume). Frustrated, out goes the heater. The 2 starfish, the cucumber and a few crabs remained. So then you know what happens next, right? Water's unstable, algae's growing, corals are dead or missing. I might as well say it about crashed ugg! <EEK. So sad when stuff like this happens> Through water changes and everyday testing I finally got everything back to "normal" in about a week, the water has been OK now for the last 3 weeks though hardly any life in it, My mom insisted I had to have fish for Christmas (at her expense). Love ya ma! <Uhh... Ask for a rain check next time?> Now mind you, so far so good. it's only been 24 hours since I've added my new buddies. I bought this beautiful feather duster, the Sabellastarte indica from, I think. He was gorgeous (and cheap). So I put him in the cooler with my heat packs (I live in Wisconsin, remember). I got home, everything appeared ok, the new heater is doing its job at 77 or so degrees, the feather didn't look damaged. I acclimated him and the rest of my fish. The lights were off by the time I let everyone go so I couldn't do much final inspection. (oh, I should mention, I always turn off the day lights when I acclimate). I get up this morning and there is a choco star on my duster. I panicked, reached in and peeled the star off the feather duster, redirecting the star to some algae in the corner. OK fine, the tube looks OK, we'll just give it time. About 30 minutes later I had to peel the star off my feather again! I looked closer at the feather duster and noticed he had a piece of 'skin' peeling from his top, I cursed myself for not noticing this last night and peeled the little bit of 'skin' off, it was just held on by a thread anyway. Neither star has bothered him since, SCAVENGERS!! Anyway. My feather isn't dead (yet) but when he pokes out of his tube, he looks horrible! His feathers are damaged and some appear to have been stripped off (no doubt digested off my some ones protruding stomach). He isn't the same beautiful creature I bought last night. I did move him down in the tank so the light isn't so bright on him and put in some vitamin and amino supplement hoping the vitamins might help. Besides keeping my water in check, is there anything else I can do to help along his recovery? Do feather dusters recover? <Well, feather dusters can repair their tubes and will do so in a healthy environment. They will also regrow a new crown or "feathers" when necessary. I would highly suggest reading up on husbandry a little more and do not add anything to the water you are not testing for.> Thanks a mil. Happy Holidays, <Happy Holidays, Jessy> Rochelle Lee

Cluster dusters deployed 08/12/2008 I searched the site and didn't find my exact problem answered. So I'm writing to ask you about my cluster duster it was 3 inches around. I got it about 3 weeks ago one week into it they all came out of their tubes and, started planting themselves around my tank in different places .Then I was noticing that I was seeing less and less of them and, now they are all gone what happened to them. <<Noticed any crowns around the tank, without tubes? Could be predators, stress, poor water quality, incorrect habitat. Please do read more here including linked articles and FAQ's. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feather.htm >> Thanks in advance for your help ,Brandy <<Thanks. A Nixon>>

Feather duster problem, no reading...  - 03/07/08 I have a feather duster in my 140 gallon reef .Before I ask you my question I give you a little background info . The tank has been set up for a little over a year old has 140 lbs of rock and house a variety of coral some softies mushrooms candy cane stuff like that .This morning my feather duster dropped his crown and then proceeded to crawl out of his tube and move to the bottom of the tank . The inhabitants of the tank are 1 maroon clown 4 yellow Chromis bullet goby a fire fish and 1 fire shrimp . As far as I know no one was picking on him . I tested my water ph8.2,ammonia was slightly elevated nitrate and nitrite were both zero also my SG was at 19 so I need to raise it .it is usually at 24 . once I saw the ammonia level I started to mix some salt water for a water change. Is there any thing else you can think of to help him out . He is at the bottom of the tank he is still moving . Or is this a death sentence for him <... read: http://wetwebmedia.com/marind5_5.htm scroll down... Worms, Featherdusters, Behavior... Bob Fenner>

Feather Duster, hlth. and Nano Cnid. comp. problem  - 1/26/08 Hi, I have read through the pages regarding feather dusters and their behaviors, diseases, etc. but have not come across anything resembling my situation. I was given a feather duster, I am not sure of the species, but I acclimated it slowly into a 12 gallon nano cube with a 20H sump (salinity 33, temp 78, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, Nitrate 0, pH 8.3). In residence are Russell Crowe the neon Dottyback, a Galaxea, <Very stinging... read on WWM re Oculinids...> some Montipora, and a few Acro frags. <... not for long. The Galaxea will kill all in this small volume> The worm has slowly been peeling back it's casing and laying down a new mucous shell on it's rock. The original tube is almost completely off and the worm has shed it's crown. Is this a signal for help or a normal behavior? <A bit of both> Also, Russell has a habit of tunneling and throwing sand all over the tank. His new favorite deposit spot is on top of the worm's rock, is this a problem? <Not if it were otherwise healthy. The BGA growth here is indicative. A bad sign> Thanks, Caitlyn <I'd be trading in the Galaxy Coral... stat! Bob Fenner>

Tubeworm Question… Dead, Dried, It's Alive! 01/11/08 Hi Mich, <Hi Benny, I apologize for my delayed response> Thanks for your help. <You are quite welcome.> Just to let you know my tubeworm is showing signs of getting better already. <I'm very glad to hear. I hope the improvement continues.> It comes out more often now but not all the time. <Ok.> My other Tubeworm has shown signs of reproduction, well at least that's what I got from your site. It started to squirt milky like fluid out and clouded the whole aquarium. <Does sound like reproductive behavior, unfortunately this can also be a reaction to stress.> I have since noticed 3 other inverts that look like a tubeworm but can't be 100% sure. <Likely so. They are common aquarium dwellers, but not likely a result of your feather duster's release of reproductive material.> Can you tell me how does the baby tubeworm look like. <Not likely a baby, but a different species, perhaps Spirorbids.> It also started to what I think it is expanding its tube. It created a transparent tube, on and off I am able to see it move. To my horror, my 3rd tubeworm dropped its crown and I haven't seen it ever since... <The crown can regenerate and the worm may reappear, sometimes after several months, but this in combination with the reproductive event makes me wonder if all is well in your tank. Might be time to do some thorough testing to see if all levels are where they should be.> Thanks Mich and Crew, <Welcome Benny! Mich> Benny

Re: Tubeworm Question… Dead, Dried, It's Alive! 1/18/08 Hi Mich, <Hi Benny,> I didn't do any thorough test yet so far as because all the other inhabitants are doing really well. <Still may be worthwhile.> My BTA looks very much better since I brought it home from the LFS. <I'm hoping your tank is more than 6 months old for the anemone's sake. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/cnidaria/anthozoa/anemones.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/anempt2.htm > 2 of my Percula clown fishes have housed it. <Well this can at time be a detriment to the anemone.> My polyps have also grown quite a bit. <Good.> The tubeworm looks like a happy tubeworm, it comes out all the time. <Good. It needs to as a filter feeder.> For the one that dropped its crown I'm pretty sure it is still in there. <Could be.> Could all this event be happening because of me doing frequent water change? <I suppose it is possible if the conditions of the change water were not well matched to the tank water.> I change like 15% of the water weekly. On top of that I top up evaporated fresh water twice a week. Also I do not have an RO/DI, so I just use dechlorinated tap water. <This could be problematic. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm > Once again thank you. <You are most welcome Benny.> There is no need to apologize for the late reply as I am very grateful of your help. <Well I am here apologizing again. Just can't seem to catch up.> Regards, <Cheers, Mich> Benny

Is My Feather Duster Sick? Likely Suffering from High Nitrate Levels 10/22/07 Hi there. <Hello Victoria, Mich here. Have you ever worked on SNL?> I have a 28 gal. tank that has been set up for about 2 1/2 - 3 months. We have 2 ocellaris clownfish, 1 Coral Beauty, 1 Banggai Cardinal, 1 Blue spot Goby, <Holy overstocked Batman!> 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 white sand starfish, <I presume you mean a sand-sifting starfish (Astropecten spp. or Luidia spp.). These starfish generally decimate the sandbed, robbing it of beneficial life and then slowly starve.> about 15 hermit crabs, <Too opportunistic for my taste.> 3 snails, 3 Nassarius snails along with a bubble anemone, <Yikes! I'm not a fan of anemones either. They really require specialized care by someone who is dedicated to their wellbeing.> mushrooms, and a feather duster. <So much for taking it slow.> Our feather duster has been fine until about the past 3-4 days. Our levels have been fine (Ammonia - 0ppm, Nitrite - 0ppm, pH - 8.2) except Nitrate (80 ppm - I know...extremely high) <Ahhh, yeah. This is because you tank is WAY overstocked.> which we have been doing water changes (10 gal every week for the past 3 weeks - about 3 weeks is as long as the nitrate level has been high) to lower it. <You need to reduce your livestock or add more water volume via a bigger tank or a large sump. First, how do we lower the nitrate when the water changes don't seem to be working? <In this tank, you need to reduce your bioload. You are completely overstocked for a system of this size.> And second, our feather duster for the past few days has been coming about an inch out of its' tube. We thought it needed to be moved to a better water flow area so we just moved it around a bit. <It is likely suffering from the high nitrate levels in your tank.> When it was touched, it did not retract. Is this a bad sign? <Generally.> The tube also seems a little more squishy than it usually does. Another bad sign? <Could be.> The feathery part curls sometimes and then straightens out again. I'm not sure exactly what kind of feather duster it is but it has a brown tube and brown/white feathers. <Sounds like something in the Sabellidae family to me.> Could it be stressed from the high nitrate level? <BINGO!> Thank you for your time. <Welcome! Mich> Sincerely, Victoria Jackson

Feather duster... hlth.. No useful info.  - 08/17/07 Hello, i am coming to you as a last resort. My feather dusters where purchased about 6 months and only now the tubes are starting to get a lighter colour and disappearing? <Happens...> i feed them with an invert food that is very fine, just liquid and all my water is perfect according to my LFS, <What is the brand name? How is it proffered? What re your set-up? Do you have ancillary feeding as in through a refugium? What re your water quality?> can you recommend anything? here are pictures of both the problem dusters, please help one wont even come out any more! thanks Zoe <... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feather.htm the linked files above. Easily your worms "problem" could be a lack of nutrition, and/or something amiss with water quality... Bob Fenner>

Feather Duster... Are in the Construction Business, Can Build New Homes  - 6/19/07 <Greetings, Mich here.> I have a large feather duster worm that I put in a small hole in live rock that was hollow in an area, one of my tangs pulled it tube off it and now its just a worm in the hollow cave in the rock, nothing can get to it because the hole in the rock is so small you can only see it with a flashlight. <Well this is a good thing and a good place for it to be! For your edification: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feather.htm > Do you know if it can grow the tube back ever? <Yes. It is possible and does happen. Hopefully it will do so. Mich>

Coco Worm Troubles - 05/07/07 Hi folks, <<Hello Tyson>> Thanks for the terrific site. <<Thanks for thinking it's terrific!>> I recently added a Coco worm to my 29g tank. <<Neat critters...though not easily kept>> It was purchased online and shipped overnight.  My concerns are as follows: upon acclimating the worm, it shed its crown and has been consequently reluctant to make an appearance. <<This sometimes happens due to stress (collection/shipping/acclimation).  If water conditions are optimum there is a chance the worm will regrow its crown>> It has been in the tank for about a week and its head does appear several times per day a few inches back from the opening of its tube.  All of my parameters are within acceptable ranges including calcium and alkalinity.  Nitrite and ammonia are at zero and nitrate remains <10ppm.  I do about an 18% water change weekly (religiously) and have been squirting a little bit of zooplankton and a few morsels of Cyclop-eeze into the Coco worm's tube every other day. <<I would not do this as these foods are mostly too large (requires very small/microscopic fare) and the action is only stressing the worm more.  The addition of a plankton generating refugium is likely required for any chance of long-term success>> I have been doing this for fear that he is unable to eat properly without the crown.  What else should I be doing to ensure that this creature will be able to regenerate and thrive in my tank? <<As stated...your best chance for success with these (most all) suspension feeders is the addition of an in-line plankton generating refugium Thanks! Tyson <<Happy to share.  EricR>>

Feather duster won't grow back feathers    4/23/07 Hi Crew! <Wendy> Thanks for the great site!  I refer to it quite often when in a quandary.  Here's my current problem.  I have a lime green feather duster that I purchased approximately 6 months ago.  He has done great, but about 2 months ago he lost his head. <Happens>   I have other feather dusters that have done the same thing, and then reemerged just fine after a week or two.  He reemerged after about 2 weeks with what appeared to be "two" heads that were smaller than before.  Then, mysteriously, his new feathers started to disappear one by one. <Also happens... sign of something not quite right... Generally foods/feeding/nutrition or chemistry issue...>   He now has no feathers, and it has been a month since he lost his last feather.  To my knowledge, there are no tankmates that are bothering him, and I have 2 other feather dusters that are thriving quite well. <Mmmm> He does stick his head out at feeding time, so we have been continuing to feed him live phytoplankton along with Micro-Vert as a supplement.    Do you have any ideas as to why this has happened? <Perhaps cumulative genetic/replicate errors... old-age...> Will he grow feathers back?   <Hopefully so> Also, should we continue to feed him like this, or will this cause him to not go to the "trouble" of regrowing feathers? <Keep feeding> Goodness knows we don't want a "lazy" feather duster!!  Thanks for your help!! Wendy <Bob Fenner>

A Worm De-Crowned - 02/09/2007 Hey Crew, Hope everyone is doing fine and thank you for your volunteer help you guys are GREAT!!! The books are AWESOME!  I have an established 55 gal standard FOWLR  and many inverts; Coral Banded shrimp, dwarf hermits,  just a variety of reef safe inverts.  My question is I have about 8 Nassarius snails and five peppermint shrimp. Last night they all (peppermints, and Nassarius) ganged up on my new feather duster;  ripped its crown off.  Everything I have read said these should be compatible. I just don't get it the lights went out and it looked like a planned attack.  Each Nassarius had a feather down its gully and each shrimp was picking at a different one.  Now that the crown is off and the lights are on, the shrimp are finishing the crown off and the Nassarius have reburied them selves.  I have a standard ten gallon for quarantine, should I move feather duster to let it recover? <Maybe a good idea...> WHY? Would they attack like that?  Also is 120 watts of 50/50 power compact enough to sustain any soft coral. <I suspect the feather duster sent some kind of "signal"... either it was reproducing and/or was dying... presenting itself as a desirable food organism... Bob Fenner>

Unknown feather - 10/18/06 Your site has been extremely helpful to me your knowledge is enviable. <Thank you we all try very hard.> I live in Sydney Australia and my tanks are all set up as the local marine environment. I have a collector's license and all my livestock I catch myself. <I envy you. I've never been there but immensely admire the animal life there.> I found a beautiful white feather duster (crown 2 inches tube 5-6 inches). This is the first one I've seen that was attached to something movable. I had it out of the water for about 1 or 2 minutes during transfer. I do not know what type it is there seems to be little information on local feather dusters (how can I identify it?) It is a single worm with two crowns that seem one when open. The feather has been in the tank for three days now and its been a very steady decline; The feathers have shriveled up to an ugly ball and the worm has pulled itself ? of the way out, It has been like this for two days. The worm still moves about a bit twisting itself. I buried the tube in sand next to a rock with an inch of the tube protruding from the sand. Three inches of the worm sag out of the tube onto the sand. It seems the duster wants to leave but is maybe unable to. What do you suggest? <Honestly Jason, I would recommend putting it back after taking tons and tons of pictures of course. Hard to identify creatures, are therefore hard to take care of and meet their needs. One hint might be the location it was found in. Do you remember if it had strong currents and what surrounded it? That might give you a clue as to the requirements.  You might connect to Amazon through WetWebMedia and give it a search. I have several books on Australian marine creatures and they might have some information about those stars. Good luck, MacL> Thanks, Jason S.

Different Problem ... Featherdusters, alive?    10/6/06 Okay I want to start by saying I have been an Aqua hobbyist for A long time now (fresh and salt) and anytime I have a question this is the first place I go, and you guys always have the answer so I wanted to thank everyone for there time and effort. <Welcome> Okay with that said here's my long story that has me worried. I have a 110 gallon reef tank that has been set up for about 4 years now I have NO feather dusters in it and I know very little about them. A buddy of mine went out a couple of weeks ago and bought five feather dusters and put them in a small tank that had 2 chocolate chip star fish in it even with my warning that they may eat them. Well here it is a couple of weeks later and he has not seen them come out, even though you could see the worm moving around in the tube. So i offered to give him a couple of dollars for them, I put them in my tank. The tips of there tubes were caved in and my LFS (which I almost never trust) said to cut off the ends off the tube so that they can get out after doing this the worms did kinda poke out here and there though none of them have there crown. Is there any chance of survival what can I do to help? <Is a chance... no need to cut... If alive, will regenerate, come out> Is it already too late? <Mmm, nope> How did they survive for so long with out coming out of there tube? <Are tough!> Sorry for all the questions but I would really like these guys to make it. any advice would help. <It is quite common that tube-building/dwelling polychaetes will die in transit... from poor collection, handling, shipping... and not that uncommon that ones that are "border line" will rally... Only time can/will tell. Monitor your water quality (lest they pollute the water) and be patient. BobF>

Dead Featherduster Worm - 02/24/06 I have a question - as a new diver, I brought back a feather duster worm for my aquarium.  It came out and fed but then seemed to reach so far out of it's leathery confines that it actually came out and was floating in the water....is it dead? <<Likely, yes>> Why did this happen? Any clues? <<Hard to answer "why" questions...perhaps damaged during collection/transport?...lack of acclimation?...improper tank mates?>> m. melnick <<Regards, EricR>>

Feather duster cluster  9/7/05 Hello, I have a 25 gallon seahorse tank with a feather duster cluster of 5 that has been doing great.  Tonight I noticed the head of one is rolling around the tank (its a double and honestly looks alive) but also the worm is crawling around the bottom like it is lost.  Should I try to rejoin them somehow?  Thank you, Deb <Mmm, nope. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/featherdisfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Feather dusters not doing so well - Help! 8/29/05 Hi Bob, I have been reading your answers on the web to questions about feather dusters.  I hope you can help me as the 2 aquarium stores I use don't seem to be able to. <Will try> I have a 40 gallon aquarium with 2 small fish, a skunk shrimp, 2 small peppermint cleaner shrimps, snails, a sea cucumber, a star fish & a few small corals.  I had 2 small feather dusters that had been doing well, even through a catastrophe that happened when I did a water change last May when we got a new well.  Now I use distilled water, <Expensive... I'd look into reverse osmosis... for your drinking and cooking as well as pet-fish use> coral reef salt, daily calcium supplements, once a week iodine supplements & 2x with a Strontium, Molybdenum supplement.  I feed the corals about 20 to 30 drops of Microvert twice a week since I don't have many corals.  The 2 small feather dusters came back after the catastrophe & did very well.  Then about 2 weeks ago I got a larger feather duster & he did well so I got another large one.  Now, both worms are retracted, one blew his head & came partly out of his tube & the other is in his tube, but you can see him through part of his tube which became transparent.  When I touch them, they don't react & both the 2 original little worms look shriveled up.  I change my water  about every 3 weeks [10 - 12 gallons] <Better to change about five gallons per week...> & constantly test it, so I think the water is fine.  I am thinking of taking out the 2 worms & putting them in a quarantine tank with more gravel.  Do they get diseases? <Likely, but little known re> Did the 4th worm bring in a disease? <Doubtful... much more likely there is some sort of environmental, nutritional component at play here... The very best "thing" I would do is add a live sump (refugium) to your current system... with a lighting regimen that is on when the main tank is off, a DSB to culture live foods, reduce nitrate... Bob Fenner> I would appreciate it if you could give me some direction.   Thank you! Linda C

Why is my feather duster is dying? 7/29/04 hi there!!! << Hi, Blundell here. >> hope you can help me with this one been bugging me for months,, went out and got myself a feather duster tube worm about 3/4 months ago and he was doing really really well he would open up to about the width of my hand and display his beautiful markings but a few weeks ago I noticed that his fan was getting smaller and his feathers where were looking more scraggly looking,, I've searched the net to find info on why this is happening but cant seem to find anything,, his fan now opens no bigger then a 50pence peace and his feathers are looking rather sorry for there selves plus his reactions to light and movement have slowed down a bit,,, << This is not a good sign. I would take immediate action, because it will most likely continue to decline in condition. >> I also have a blue damsel, cleaner shrimp and Bennie in my 25 gallon tank and none of the fish or shrimp have bothered him at all,,,, any idea's as to what's going on with my poor, very sorry looking duster,, thank you,, Zo. < I would recommend feeding the duster a lot more zooplankton and phytoplankton.  The great thing about a 25 gal tank is that you can add a whole bottle of DT's phyto, or some other type of zooplankton and heavily feed your tank for cheap.  I would certainly recommend doing so.  Blundell  >>

Freaky Feather >I've had a feather duster in my tank for 6 days and it was doing great..  >>Six days isn't long, but let's continue. >I did a 10% water change last night and this morning when I woke up, the feathers and (body?) came out of the tube.  >>Mmm.. >What does this mean?  >>Can mean many things. The whole body is out of the tube? Are you sure the animal is alive? When they exit like this it's a sign of stress, possibly impending death, or it's quite unhappy with its present location. When they lose their crowns (the term for the feathers at the head of the worm) it can mean, again, stress, or that they're worn out, just like a bird's feathers wear out and they have to molt. Direct feeding with coral foods is the way to get them to regrow most quickly, assuming pristine water quality. This should NOT have happened immediately post water change, and I believe that may have stressed it. The reasons for this are many: did you match temperature well (if not exactly, then at least a touch warmer)? Did you match pH EXACTLY? Salinity? Just these three factors can have had an effect. This still doesn't address overall water quality, which is another factor. >What do I do with the tube?  >>Leave the tube for the time being. Your biggest concern at this point is ensuring you've provided the closest thing to pure sea water as possible. >Will it be ok?  >>I can't tell you with the information I have. >The duster is moving and the tube is still opened and closing occasionally.  >>Then I would guess that the worm is still inside, and you ought to leave it be.  >New at this please help. Kris  >>Kris, if this is a new system (less than one year old) then I strongly advise you to go VERY slowly adding any new animals, and ALWAYS research them well before you buy! You've provided no water quality parameters for me, so I cannot address that. All I know is that you did a very small water change, and that's it. Look to our site's information on how to ask questions and what we need to help answer to give you an idea of what will be helpful. Marina 

Feather duster worm problem 5/3/04 Hi. This is Alvin here, I've had a feather duster worm for about a year now and it has been growing larger and more feathers are emerging from the crown. however, I noticed that the feathers on the crown have somewhat been shortened. It does not seem as if it was bitten as the tips of the feathers are no jagged.  My concern is, what can be the cause of it? <If it is not being caused by fish, it could be a water quality issue.  Do check salinity, pH, alkalinity, ammonia and nitrate.  Do keep in mind that grazing fish like tangs will occasionally nip sessile inverts, not necessarily to take a bit, but just as part of their exploring for food.  Such activity could be irritating to the feather duster.> I have a 50 gallon tank with a maroon clown, tomato clown, a brown tang, 6 damsels and 2 blue dot sleeper goby. The only recent additions are the gobies, other inhabitant have been bought about the same time as the feather duster worm, so I assume that they are not the cause. I thank you in advance for any suggestion that you may be able to provide. <To be sure that you can rule out the fish, observe the tank for a while from a distance.  Fish learn to associate your presence with food, so your approach will interrupt their normal grazing activity.  If you aren't very patient, you could even set up a video camera and fast forward!  Best Regards, Adam.>

Duster down - 2/13/03 Dear WWM, I gotta say that I love what you guys do here <thanks kindly!> you help a lot of people that were pointed in the wrong direction by advice from unknowledgeable pet shop workers. <from mis-information at large> I have a feather duster I believe it is a Giant Hawaiian. <a challenging species indeed> The worm was doing great for about two weeks  Something strange started to happen the feathers have started to curl inward slowly daily. They also began looking limp as well. It has not yet lost a single feather though. <not tragic if it does... they will regrow> I tried feeding it clam juice thinking it was hungry but it didn't work. I have a scooter blenny and a royal gamma in the tank with him. This is my quarantine tank about 10 Gallons. <could just be duress expressed late from import. Its the reason why we QT for a full month. You are doing fine, my friend. Even if this worm loses its feathers, as long as the worm is alive by the end of the 4 week QT (firm inside tube)... you can put it in the display> Please help, Jimmy <kindly, Anthony>

RE: Duster down - 2/14/03 Dear Anthony, Thanks a million for the speedy reply. <our pleasure> Any idea what causes the feathers to curl inward like a dried up worm <with new specimens there is always the chance that it is simply stress and perhaps the impending ejection of that structure. However, feeding with foods that are too large or viscous also does it (the feathers are gills which become clogged)> can it be two much light from my power-Glo light? <light has no influence on their health here> Regards, Jimmy B <ciao, bub. Anthony>

Bringing Back The Feathers Hey all, <Scott F. with you today> I recently purchased via FFE a nice piece of Bisma rock, water parameters are good, but for some reason some of the feathers have deteriorated, is this normal, is this like a feather duster that blows its cap when stressed, and is there anything I can do? The addicted <Well, when a feather duster "blows its cap", it is usually in response to some form of environmental stress or handling problem. Most often, this happens in response to a rather dramatic environmental change...It is possible for the animal to secrete a new tube, but it will need to be located in a protected area of the tank, such as ticked in a rocky cleft. Even then, it's not 100% that it will come back...It's worth a shot, however. Provide excellent water conditions and it may just regenerate...Good luck>  

Plume-less Feather Duster - 3/18/03 One quick question mine has "deployed" his feather section, and is still inhabiting his tube? <Not necessarily the end of him> Is he dead or reproducing or what? <not reproducing but there can be many reasons for it from stress (lack of food, water parameters changed etc.), growth, and more!!! Keep an eye on the tube and the worm. They do regrow these. Look through this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/featherfaq2.htm and be sure to feed them small foods such as baby brine nauplii, rotifers (enriched with a quality phytoplankton), and maybe very finely pureed meaty foods. Feed on the back side of the worms feeding radioles (not directly over the center of the radioles). Be patient but diligent. Paul>

Christmas Tree Worms Hello,<Howdy , sorry about the delayed reply.> I'm new with the saltwater aquarium hobby and I have set up my tank for over 8 mo.s now. I have just added to my tank with a coral rock with four Christmas tree fan worms living in it. After two days the worms started to crawl out of the coral, lying on the sand and later was eaten by my shrimp and damsel. Do you know why the worms left their coral home?  I checked the salinity, pH, ammonia, nitrate level and everything seemed fine. The values are: 1.023, 8.0, 0, .01.   The tank temperature was 81F at the time. The tank size is 55 gal with ~ 50lbs of liverock.   Livestock included: 2 damsels, 1 tang, 1 clown, 2 feather dusters, 1 torch (frog spawn), 1 starfish, 1 anemone. Light system is the CustromSeaLife 55w power compact.  Filter system is 60gal sump wet/dry with mag5 pump and a back up small Rena canister filter.  I intended to install an AquaC protein skimmer soon. <You also need to be testing for nitrite, calcium, and alkalinity.  These worms also need stronger lighting and so do your corals and anemone.  You can find info on all this at: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/index.htm Cody>   Thanks Quyen Chau

Feather duster malady 6/3/03 I've been tearing my hair out trying to figure out what has gone wrong.  I purchased 2 Hawaiian feather dusters about a week apart.  The first one began to show odd signs at night.  It would elevate itself about .5-1in outside of its tube.  Eventually it got to the point wherein it was almost fully out of the tube.  It was undulating and trying to get the rest of the way out.  I've read a lot on them and knew this meant it was going to leave the tube and find a new spot.   <true... but usually under great stress. It could be a water quality issue, or it could simply be an animal that has suffered the rigors of import without adequate stabilization (no quarantine period by retailer or home aquarist/you> I tried to help it by placing the tube horizontally on the substrate in the hopes that it would more easily extract itself.  I scared it into popping its crown by doing so :( <no worries yet, they can regrow the crown within weeks> Nonetheless it left its tube and hid behind some rocks, as indicated by plumes of mucus therein.  The next day I removed a rock to check on its progress only to find a half digested worm underneath my serpent star.  I was quite perturbed.  I documented the happenings here: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~skotzaba/aqualog.htm <alas... the worm was dying and/or weak. The star was simply scavenging as it should> Here is where things began to worry me more--my second feather duster, by far larger and prettier is doing the exact same thing now.  We saw it trying its hardest to leave the tube. <again, may be water quality... or simply the source (same LFS, same batch?)> I did as much reading as possible on them and was able to rule out a few things.  Water parameters are unlikely to be the problem as pH=8.1-8.2, <if accurate and a day time reading, this seems low/flat. Your pH is likely dipping below 8.0 at night (yikes!). Do test after a long period of darkness (at night or before lights come on in the morning)> Am=0, Ni=0, Na=5.  Starvation is unlikely since I feed the dusters "filter feeder food" and they were only in the tank for a week anyhow.   <FWIW... I am almost certain that the feather dusters get absolutely no nutrition directly from such bottled foods. They are terrible. Particle size and prey nature are inappropriate/too large. Such foods are commonly nicknamed "pollution in a bottle" and serve only to cause future nuisance algae blooms. The best filter feeder foods come from fishless refugiums plumbed inline> The only things that come to my mind are current and micro-bubbles.   <neither would be a problem here.> What sort of current should they be in?   <moderate to strong> Depending on how I adjusted the powerheads, the feathers went from frazzled and disheveled to simply stagnant.  The other theory I have involves the large number of small bubbles my skimmer produces.  Could this be irritating the worm into trying to seek shelter behind the rocks, as the first worm did? <absolutely not> Furthermore, we had outbreaks of both brown algae (passed) and hairy algae (subsiding), some of which grew on the tube--could this be a problem?   <irritating but not fatal> I might also add that none of our animals have bothered the dusters, so I don't think that's a problem. I truly hope you can help to shed some light on this situation, as I was greatly enamored of those two dusters (named Babette and Soleil, if you must know) and their passing is quite saddening to me.  Either way, thank you for your time. Stratos Kotzabassi <the large common feather dusters are really quite difficult to keep alive for most aquarists for more than a year. Most die in weeks/months. Without a mature refugium to produce nanoplankton (bacteria, etc)... nothing you target feed them is likely to sustain them. Do consider other duster species or forego all until the tank matures more. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Feather duster malady Thank you very much for your prompt response.  To update you on a few of the factors you mentioned: I believe both dusters were in the LFS tank for a decent amount of time before I purchased them.  Furthermore, I did a relatively slow acclimation and checked pH and salinity before placing either of the dusters in the tank.  The fact that they seemed ok at the LFS for some time and suddenly had their adverse reaction in my tank leads me to believe there might be some kind of distressing factor attributable only to my tank. The latest pH test showed 8.2.  A test done approx 2 hours after the Actinics turned off and 3 hours after the Sunlight's turned off showed a pH of 8.2, perhaps a tiny bit less. I had read a lot about the various available foods for dusters and I agree that they all seems to be nothing more than "pollution in a bottle", oddly enough however, I was told by a good friend and saltwater reefer of 16 years that he feeds his large dusters Kent Micro-Vert and they have done just fine.  His tank is, however, more mature than mine, but I find it doubtful that its mature enough to sustain a phytoplankton population.  Nonetheless I am still very interested in trying to keep the Large varieties of feather duster.  If I were to do so, it seems I have 2 options--either to grow my own phyto, which seems cumbersome and imprecise, or I could purchase the product "DT's Phytoplankton".  Would either of these two be acceptable to keeping alive a large feather duster? <Well, we're still not sure what exactly they eat. Many dusters shed their gills (the "feathers") and there are noticeable changes in the structure: they are adapting to eat the available food.> Lastly, I realize I may have left out important information in my last email.  My tank has been fully cycled for only about a month.  By cycled I mean the Am and Ni were at zero and that all tank param.s were steady for at least a week.  I purchased the first duster along with my first fish, and the second duster about a week and a half later.  Could it have been the immaturity of my tank which killed the poor dusters?  If so, what does my immature tank lack that a more mature tank could offer? <Bacterial population. IMO most people rush to put animals into their tanks, when a little patience would pay off. One of the current theories is that they change their gills so they can eat the bacteria growing in the tank.> On a side note, oddly enough, it seems that a small duster has popped up on my substrate behind my rocks.  I find that odd in that my LR was in the tank during the cycle, which included Am levels of over 5ppm.  Odd that they could survive that. <Well, it could have been larval or an egg when it came into the tank. Or, maybe they're just a very tough species.> And finally, is there any detailed literature you would recommend for those enamored of the feather dusters? <Sadly, not that I can think off. So far most of the information is on the web.> I great many thanks for responding.  You have been a great help. <You're welcome, good luck, PF>

-Dusters not in their tubes- thanks for you time in writing back. <No problem> Got a hold of my dealer and she told me that if the tubes were hollow, the dusters have grown and are in the substrate making new tubes. <This is unlikely since they can simply build larger tubes. If the tube is empty, it is probably dead.> And if the tubes were squishy, the worms were dead. <The tubes are always squishy unless its the pacific variety that builds a tube out of calcium carbonate.> Well they are hollow and hopefully I'll have my dusters back bigger than ever. <I hate to be the bearer of bad news but your dusters are likely dead, unless they became stressed and jumped ship. -Kevin>

-Dusters dead- I have a 55 gallon tank with a 10 gallon refugium.   both have been set up for 6 yrs.  I have a full reef set up.  I had two feather duster worms in different parts of the main tank and both died within 2 weeks of each other.  All water chemistry is fine and nothing else in the tank is stressed or has died.  I really have no idea what happened and thought maybe you had some ideas. <Feather dusters depend on particulate organic stuff to survive, make sure that the tank is well fed with a few kinds of phytoplankton. So, it is possible that they starved, were eaten by something, or have dropped their crowns due to stress or starvation. Sorry I can't give you a specific reason! -Kevin>   Thanks for your time. Tom

Feather Duster...Biting The Dust? Hi, Bob <Scott F. here tonight...> I need help with my feather duster that came out of its tube and has the body deep into my biggest LR. Feather duster is spitting out some kind of sticky clear substance and lots of it, which looks to be contaminating water. <Not good at all...> My 2 other feather dusters are doing just fine. I have tried to pull him out from the LR but I can't without pulling him apart.. I really think it's dying, or dead. I don't want to destroy the LR or throw it away. The LR is in quarantine tank just in case. What can I do ?  Please help. JO <Well, Jo- I'm afraid that the best course of action is to remove the animal by whatever means necessary....Unfortunately, this will result in the animal's death. However, I think you have to work on the philosophy that you are "serving the greater good" by more or less sacrificing a dying animal that may pollute the system, taking down other animals with it. Sad, but true. In the long run, it's the best move to make, IMO; an acceptable trade off. Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Stressed out Featherduster Hi,     just yesterday I purchased a  Hawaiian feather duster.  I have a 20 gallon tank with a slug, a couple of snails, four hermit crabs and a yellowtail damsel.  I've had it up and running for about a month and a half.    my tank hasn't cycled yet but I have read that sometimes they just don't. <If setup properly aquariums most always cycle-and if it doesn't living creatures should not be added>  I  slowly started adding livestock.  water levels are optimal. no ammonia or nitrate. <what about nitrite?  if your aquarium has 0 nitrite and ammonia then your aquarium must be cycled> When I first introduced the duster to my tank it seemed fine and came out of its tube in no time.<sounds good>  I wasn't satisfied with the place I had put it. I wanted to move it to  where it could be visible and away from the strong current of  my power head.  unfortunately  I must have positioned and repositioned the poor worm from place to place at least six times before I was satisfied with its spot. <not good, you most likely stressed him out>    although I was gentle I think I may have stressed it out.  <you probably did> now it won't come out of its tube and the top of its tube where it was coming out is now white and shriveled. <It might still be alive or it might have been stressed to death, I would just leave him there and see if he's still alive (if he ever comes out)>  I'm concerned about its health.  what do you think is happening?  and what should I do?<good luck, IanB>

Feather dusters I had a problem with my tank recently, everything made it thru o.k. except  for my feather dusters. I found what I think was the feather part of one of  them, and the other does not come out any more either. I see movement within  the tube part still though, and they jump when you walk by the tank some  times like they are still alive. Will the feather part grow back??? Should  I do anything to help them grow??? Thanks Scott Earl >> Yes to the "feather part" of these polychaete worms growing back if conditions are propitious... Why did they "throw" their feeding crowns in the first place? I would baste them (as with pureed food in a turkey baster) twice a week... and do your best otherwise to keep water quality high and stable. Bob Fenner

Featherdusters Hi Bob, love the site-its my first visit. I have two large Featherdusters (Sabellastarte magnifica) which were doing fine. I haven't seen the 'dusters' out now for a couple of days, and a close inspection has revealed lots of tiny white critters running all over them. Also one of the tubes has started to change to an unhealthy black colour. I've read thru the FAQ on the site - but I don't believe they are reproducing - they haven't shed their heads. Do I need to be worried - or just patient. <I am worried...> If a worm dies, will it pollute my tank? <Not much... how to put this?... There is not really that much protein, fats, carbohydrates to these animals... that is, they don't have much potential for pollution... and most systems have more "efficient" filtration mechanisms than the worms might use in their perishing> Thanks for any advice you could give. Phil <I would pull them out, give them a whiff... if they've died, been consumed... you will know... Bob Fenner>

Re: Featherdusters Bob. Thanks for the very swift response. I tried to remove the 'dodgy' looking Featherduster but it was well anchored to the substrate/live rock. <Yep, this is "non-biological", i.e. "dead" adhesive the animal provided... that will retain its tube for some time... whether there is anyone "home" or not...> I was concerned that I was going to do more harm than good so I left well alone. I guess I'll just have to monitor closely? <Not too closely... as I stated before... practical consequences of these animals perishing is not a big trouble... in an otherwise well-maintained, well-filtered system...> I think the critters might be amphipods or possibly isopods. I'd like to examine one closely - but I cant catch one! lol. Thanks, Phil <They're pretty easily trapped in and amongst filter media suffused with something meaty... like in a plastic pipe section, or fitting during the dark/night... and lifted, netted suddenly... Bob Fenner>

Re: Featherdusters Thanks Bob Managed to take one of the FDs out of the tank complete with the LR it was attached to. The worm is still alive but out of its tube and attached to the bottom of the LR. I've obviously put it back and guess I'll just have to hope it will build itself another tube? <Only time will/can tell> I couldn't look at the other duster as it was attached/underneath a large piece of rock. Phil <Bob Fenner>

Sick feather duster fan worm and calcium questions Hi, hope you're doing well and have a happy holiday season! I 've had a feather duster for about a week and it seems very sick. The last half of it's tube ( distal end where it's attached to rock) is turning black, soft, and ugly --was originally all a uniform gray and quite hard.  Also it no longer retracts the fan when approached or touched. I plan to take it back to LFS to see what they think, but I trust your opinion more...any ideas?  <Not good... dead or dying...> My system: 46 with 70 # LR, 60 # aragonite, Eheim, CPR BakPak, one MJ powerhead. Temp-77, SG 1023-1024, AMMONIA, nitrites, and nitrates all zero, Calcium 300(red sea) and 340(hagen), pH 8.2-8.4, and Alk approx 3.2(red sea; I have a hard time with the color comparison and may try a different brand test kit). Livestock - one fan worm , scarlet hermits, snails, 5 soft corals, and one bubble coral> BTW, the bubble sometimes seems a little shriveled up for sev. hrs to a day or so then seems fully distended and fine again. Is this variability normal? <Yes> I've had it about two weeks; it's about 8" below two 96 watt PCs (one blue one on 14 hrs/day; one 10,000K daylight on 12 hrs/day ). It's fairly close to the return from the Eheim, so the bubbles are in constant motion that doesn't seem too violent to me , but I have nothing by which to judge how much flow is ok. When it's shrunken, it's also sort of beige instead of the usual pure white. Sound OK? <Yes, typical> The calcium question is what's the best way to get it up to 400-450. <A working calcium reactor> I'm using C-balance(2 part) and did a 10% h20 change but it 's staying low. How does one know whether to just use more of the C-balance I'm not up to the max dose), or to add a Ca supplement? <Need to have records... one way, of alkalinity changes with addition of part 2 here... if not depressing alkalinity, can add more part 2> Should the 2-part supplement always be used in equal amounts? <Not always... depends on readings for calcium/biominerals and alkalinity, desires, livestock...> I've read the site but can't seem to find an answer there. Thanks as always for your help;; I hate to think what it would be like to get started in this hobby without your guidance. Happy New Year! PS Just called the LFS re the fan worm and they were very uninterested in even looking at it! <I'll bet.> I'm is the SF bay area and can't believe the shortage of decent marine stores! any recommendations in my area? maybe I just haven't found the best ones. <Nippon Goldfish (not just goldfish as you will see.). Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick feather duster fan worm and calcium questions
Thanks for instant response! very much appreciated!!. Nippon was the store in question, I'm afraid; <Yikes... do you know Steve there?> lately they've seemed very unhelpful and their livestock looks pathetic, except for this one feather duster which was beautiful in their tank and now may be dying. Actually the back half of its tube is more greenish and almost translucent, not really black and its fan is waving and looking fine.  <Oh! Then do just leave it in place...> If it is dying , does it sound like I've done anything to kill it? I don't want to get more if so till I figure it out. About the calcium: like so many of your ;;correspondents, I'm trying to get by without another expensive piece of gear, for now anyway. I'm unclear what kind of records you're referring to. <The tests you do for the qualities in question... do you keep a journal of when, what was observed?> My Ca levels have been about 300-350 all along;; pH seems to be slowly drifting down from 8.4 to 8.2; Alk also drifting down from 3.6 to 3.2-3.4; have been using 15 ml of each of the 2-part C-balance daily or almost daily). I tested the Ca in my QT tank which is empty and it's also in the 300-350 range. What should it be in newly made up SW with Instant Ocean?  <If memory serves closer to 400... their (Aquarium Systems) reef salt mix is even more artificially boosted> As long as I test the parameters, is there any reason not to experiment with going up to the max dose on the C-Balance and also adding a pure Ca supplement?  <Not really. Just take your time.> There are so many brands out there... any recommendations on either brand or type( chloride, hydroxide, liq, solid, etc)? Thanks again! <Stick with one manufacturer's line unless you know exactly the chemical composition of the materials you're using, and their interactions. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick feather duster fan worm and calcium questions
Hi, again, just checked the KNOP website to learn more about the Ca reactors and it seems you need a sump to use one; <Mmm, not so... can discharge directly into systems> I forget to mention that I'm sumpless...if I don't have clams or lots of hard corals what's a minimum acceptable Ca level, anyway? Isn't the ocean about 380? <Please read over the calcium and related sections posted on WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Feather dusters and Paraguard? Hi Bob.... <Howdy> I have ich in my tank and was wondering if feather duster worms can be carriers of this parasite and if they can stand the treatment of Paraguard? <Am not so sure, but am inclined to say no. Here's a pitch re Seachem's product: http://www.saltwaterfish.com/m-dry-goods/Seachem-Paraguard.html The malachite green worries me enough to state that I would move either the treated animals or the worm/s.> One more quick question - how long can Moray eels live out of water and how much can they travel around on a carpet in the home (should they decide to leave their tank)? <There are anecdotes of morays living "moist" on shipped live rock for days! If one does discover theirs on the floor, it's best to pick it up in a damp towel, rinse off the dirt and dust in a bucket and place it in a marine system... even if apparently semi-stiff. Have seen some remarkable recoveries. Bob Fenner> Thanks so much.....Lana.

Re: feather dusters & Paraguard? Hello! <Howdy again!> I have just discovered ich in my tank and I have no option but to treat my main tank with Paraguard. I have 2 large feather duster worms in there and was wondering if they can take the treatment? Also, do they carry parasites like ich ? Thanks....Lana. <Don't carry the parasites per se, though some "swarmers" or resting stages might well be transported with... and would not treat their system with Paraguard... best to move the worms in this case to a separate tank. Bob Fenner>

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