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Bristle/Fireworms Identification FAQs 3

Related FAQs: Polychaete ID 1, Polychaete ID 2, Polychaete ID 4, Polychaete ID 5, Bristleworm ID 6, Bristleworm ID 7, Bristleworm ID 8, Bristleworm ID 9, Bristleworm ID 10, Bristleworm ID 11,
FAQs: Worm Diversity FAQs, FAQs 2, FAQs 3, & Worm IDs 1, Worm IDs 2, Worm IDs 3, Worm IDs 4, Worm IDs 5, Worm IDs 6, Worm IDs 7, Worm IDs 8, & Worm ID FAQs by Group/Phylum: Flatworm Identification ID, Nemertean, Proboscis, Ribbon Worm ID, Nematode, Roundworm ID, Nematomorpha, Horsehair Worm ID, Acanthocephalans, Thorny-headed Worm ID, Tubeworm ID, Hirudineans, Leech ID, Sipunculids, Peanut Worm ID, Echiuran Worm ID, & Bristle/Fireworms 1, Bristle/Fireworms 2Bristle/Fireworms 3, Bristle/Fireworms 4, Worm IdentificationPolychaete Behavior, Polychaete Compatibility, Polychaete System, Polychaete Selection, Polychaete Feeding, Polychaete Disease, Polychaete Reproduction

Related Articles: Worms, Polychaetes, Flatworms/Planaria

ID this one tough guys ;) This guy is 11 inches long and eats snails like pop corn. It has antennae like a grass hopper, a body like a fire worm, legs like a millipede in addition to the white ones) and a mouth like an eel. I also have a zip folder with 12-MB of other shots. <Hee hee! That's one big bad boy bristleworm... do you want to know the family? I'd either become it's agent or remove it to someplace safe or oblivion. Bob Fenner>

Fireworm ID (Hermodice carunculata).  7/5/07 Hello WWM Crew! <Hi Marc! Mich here.> As always, thank you for this amazing website, it is very helpful! <Thank you for your kind words!> I only have a single question tonight. I've attached a picture of a fireworm I've seen in my tank and was worried it might be the bearded fireworm (Hermodice carunculata). I've seen pictures on the net that resemble this worm but I wasn't sure if this really was H. carunculata. Could you help me ID this worm? <This is definitely a fireworm and you will likely want to carefully (Watch the bristles, they can contain venom, which will make you rather unhappy if you come in contact with.) remove it from your system as they are indiscriminate in their feeding habits and can find many reef creature tasty snacks. I do believe your ID is correct.> I know this worm is very common in the Caribbean. I have 40 pounds (out of 140) of Brazilian LR in my 125 gallons setup. It might have come from this rock. <Certainly a possibility.> Don't know if you've already seen this article <Mmm, nope, but will read. Read. Wish I could read French too.> (http://www.seashell-collector.com/Html/xeno/xeno%2099.pdf). H. carunculata has a natural predator! <Mmm, likely several natural predators.> Not that I would add a cone to a reef setup (nor would I advise anyone to do so), <No, would certainly not be the wisest thing. As you know, many varieties are poisonous and several people have lost their lives to these snails.> but I found that interesting and wanted to share. <Always appreciated.> Thanks for your time <Welcome!> and keep up the good work,
<Will try! Mich>

Worm in a sand tube -- 06/14/07 Hello Crew, <Hi Carlos, Mich here.> After 10 years w/o a marine tank I decided to dive back into the hobby. <Come on in the water's great!> I just setup a 70 gal tank. I have one lone damsel and about 30 lb of live rock (on my way to get more. <Hopefully this new rock is fully cured.> A few days after putting the rock in I noticed what appeared to be a thin walled tube made up of sand coming from one of the rocks. The tube is made up of some sort of slime and is clear except for a thin layer (1 grain thick?) of sand. Yesterday I turned on the lights and caught what appears to be a very small (barely visible) black worm scampering back to the rock inside the tube. I've seen it twice now. It seems to come out at night then back to the rock when the lights go on. Can you identify? <Sounds like a type of feather duster worm, likely a member of the family Sabellaridae.> Is it bad for the tank? <Nope. More here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feather.htm > Thanks in advance for your help. <Welcome! Mich>

Saltwater "worm" question??  5/29/07 Hi there. <Hi Jimmy, Mich here.> I've had my tank for 2 months now, and I have noticed 3 "worm" looking things in the small rocks at the bottom of my tank, that are probably about 1/2" long and thin, and have small spikes all around them on the edges, and when I looked closer, I could see blood, I'm guessing, pumping from the top of their bodies to the bottom. I'm wondering what the heck are they and are they harmful and any information at all?? <Sounds like some type of bristleworm, most are harmless scavengers that help to keep the tank clean. Some photos and more info here and the related links in blue: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaetes.htm I would avoid handling these worms. And if you must, then wear gloves. The "spikes" called chaetae can cause problems ranging from irritation to severe pain should you get stuck.> I tried to take a picture, but it won't turn out and I can't turn the flash off from my camera. <...Now where did I put that camera manual? What's that quote about a thousand words?...> Thanks in advance.
<Welcome! Mich>
Re: saltwater "worm" question?? Now with picture  5/29/07 <Hi Jimmy, Mich with you again.> I wrote earlier about worm looking things in my tank, and I finally got a picture to turn out, and here it is. Can you verify what they are please? <Yes, They appear to be bristleworms.> There's 3 in the picture, <I see them. Thank you for the photo, it is helpful.> thank you!

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

Bristleworm?  Mmm, Polychaete... more likely Eunice spp  -- 4/10/07 <Hello, Mich here.> Just wondering if this is indeed a bristleworm. <Is a Polychaete worm, but I suspect is something more along the lines of Eunice spp.  Some are beneficial scavengers others can be highly predatory.  I think I would consider removing.>   It is very, very small. <And hopefully stays that way!  some Eunice worms can get very, very large!!!> And if you wanted to use either picture on your site feel free. <Thank you.> I like to help in any way I can. <You have by sending your query!> Your site is wonderful. <Thank you for the kind words!  -Mich>

Confusing worms? Reading, on... WWM -- 03/18/07 Hey guys, <Josh> A while back I wrote you about a small oyster toadfish that I rescued from a friend. Your advice was much appreciated, and now he is happily living in a 40 gallon tank (at least until I can afford a bigger one ;). He is actually making his fog horn like mating call all the time! <Neat!> (My friend had never heard it before and was jealous). Anyway, I am doing an internship with a local aquarium <Ahh, very good> and they donated some small brittle stars to my tank to help stir the substrate. <Nice> I apparently also got some worms with it and I really don't know what they are.. maybe some kind of fireworm?? <Polychaetes of many types are very common. See WWM re> They are about an inch in length and orange-red. They appear not to have any bristles and bury in the substrate. When they do, they send out 3-4 long hair like red tentacles that just sort of sit on the substrate and move with the water flow. They don't appear to move much around the tank, if at all. I have two turbo snails and the toadfish and would like to eventually make it more of a reef tank. Are these worms harmless? <Most are> Should I get rid of them now before they multiply or just leave them? <The latter for now> Which brings me to my second problem. I can't get the nitrate levels down. I have done many water changes up to 70% and it brings the levels down slightly, but within a few days they are back at the highest level <Yes... Batrachoidids are big feeders, waste makers...> I can read with my "Red Sea Marine Lab" test kit. I don't have a protein skimmer, just a standard marine filter which pulls the water over a sponge like filter, through a bag of carbon and then over some rocks the bacteria are growing on. A friend suggested getting rid of the filter, but I clean it every other day so I don't THINK that's causing the problem.. so the only thing I could think of was maybe there is stuff decaying in the substrate, hence the desire for worms and brittle stars. Think that might be the problem? <See WWM re Nitrates... the search tool, indices...> This tank is about 2 months old without any hermit crabs, but the nitrifying bacteria should have become more than established by now right? <You need their complement of denitrifying bacteria... a place for these to be...> oh yeah, and I am very careful about how much I feed my fish so there is not excess food in the water. Thanks for your help!! Josh <Be reading. Bob Fenner>

Soft Coral, worm, algae ID   12/6/06 Dear Crew, I was wondering if you could help me identify my new soft coral. It was sold to me as a Sarcophyton sp., but it looks more like a Sinularia sp. to me. I have attached pictures for reference. <Is not a Sarcophyton for sure... Likely is a Sinularia species... definitely a Alcyoniid> On another note, I was watching my tank the other night and I noticed what I believe are worms, possibly bristle worms, swimming through the tank. They were swimming rather quickly with a cork-screwing motion. <Good description...> I couldn't find any reference to similar behavior, so I was curious about it. I have also attached a picture of one of the worms. (I couldn't get a picture of one swimming, so it is a picture of the worm on the glass.) <Is an Errantiate polychaete (there are thousands of species) of some sort> Also, I am having trouble with, but I am not sure what type it is. I can't find anything that looks similar to it. It grows all over my live rock and the glass of the aquarium. I have also attached a picture as a reference. <Are Blue-greens... Cyanobacteria...> My parameters are as follows: 55 gallon tank with 120 watts NO fluorescents Temperature: 79° F Nitrite, Nitrate, Ammonia, Copper: 0 ppm pH: 8.2 dKH: 10° Calcium: 550ppm <Way too high...> Specific Gravity 1.026 Weekly 10% water changes with RO water. Top-off twice daily with RO water. (About a quart of a water each time.) Thank you for your time, Daniel <Mmm, please do take a read on WWM re the groups, situation mentioned above... Bob Fenner>

Crazy Worm? -- 02/27/07 I just got home to my poor stressed tank and see something very strange on my clump of dish coral.  Two or three corals have developed close together and it looks like some type of segmented worm going from one to the other. Or could they be transferring material?  I am not sure if I should get it with tweezers or not.  I am sending a photo along. Thanks, Cathy <<Well Cathy I can't really make anything out from the photo, but this doesn't look like a worm to me...it appears more to be mucus/excrement...and likely nothing to be concerned about.  Regards, EricR>>
Re: Crazy Worm? -- 02/28/07 Thanks again Eric. <<Hi Cathy!...quite welcome>> I just wanted to follow up.  In fact, it was a brown segmented worm. <<Ah, thank you for this...I did not get that from the photo>> Have you ever heard of this before. <<Mmm...many, many, MANY species of worms about (in excess of 10,000 I do believe).  Do you have any (missing?) fan/tube worms?  Possibly one of these exited its parchment tube and was actually being consumed by the coral rather than the other way around>> It was as if it was going into the mouth of my dish coral. <<Yes...did see this>> I did yank it out and had it move around awhile.  I could not identify it. <<Too bad you didn't take/send a close-up pic>> Seemed more like an earthworm than bristle worm. <<From what I could discern, yes, would agree it was not a bristle worm>> Thanks again for all your advice.   <<Always happy to try to assist.  EricR>>

Identification help, Polychaetes   2/25/07 We need help identifying this worm that came in our Caribbean live rock.  We have searched your sight extensively, and on the web as well, and have not found it. <There are many possibilities...>   It is not a bristle worm.  We found two pictures that looked similar, although not exactly the same. One was called a polychaete Typosillis and the other was called a polychaete Hesionid. <A genus and family, e pluribus unum...> We were not able to find any information other than pictures on those 2 worms, however. It moves very much like a centipede and has a very distinctive pattern. We are trying to find out if it is ok to put it in the tank, or if it's a "bad guy". Can you help us?  Here are the links to the Photo Bucket pictures. <These are "not available..."> Thanks, Susan & Lisa <I would be careful in handling these worms... the lateral processes (parapodia) have sharp structures and sometimes poison sacs associated with them... (use tongs or a net)... but unless they're very large and/or numerous they can be likely placed with your other livestock. Should they prove troublesome, polychaetes are almost always easily baited/trapped, removed. Bob Fenner>

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