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Bristle/Fireworms Identification FAQs 4

Related FAQs: Polychaete ID 1, Polychaete ID 2, Polychaete ID 3, Polychaete ID 5, Bristleworm ID 6, Bristleworm ID 7, Bristleworm ID 8, 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, Bristleworm ID 9, Bristleworm ID 10, Bristleworm ID 11, &
Worm ID FAQs by Group/Phylum: Flatworm Identification ID, Nemertean, Proboscis, Ribbon Worm ID, Nematode, Roundworm ID,
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Related Articles: Worms, Polychaetes, Flatworms/Planaria

Bristleworms... Just Doing Their Job - 10/10/06 Can anyone identify this nasty looking little worm? <<Appears to be a species of common bristleworm...a polychaete worm>> I put a couple of bivalves (Manila clams) into my marine aquarium and two days later found dozens of these had scoured out the interior of the clams.  They are present in my substrate reef tank. <<Indeed, and doing what they do best...cleaning up "already dead" organisms.  The Manila clams are found in temperate to cold waters...they probably died shortly after being placed in your "tropical" reef tank and the worms, being beneficial detritivores, "cleaned them up">> Worried about my pink tipped anemone. <<No need...as long as you keep it healthy>> Turbo snails have died but I have attributed that to my hermit crab population. <<Yes...a much bigger threat to the biota in your tank than the worms...in my opinion>> Sounds like these would be a nightmare to get rid of. <<I wouldn't even try...in fact...I feed mine in my refugium purposely to keep the population up/reproducing/spewing eggs and sperm to the benefit of my other reef denizens>> I could see benefits of them cleaning and stirring my crushed coral substrate but if they are more of a problem? <<Not in my opinion...and populations can usually be controlled by the amount of available (excess) food in the system>> Do they natural predators that I could but for control? <<A few...though these can be/have their own problems>> Help! Your professional advice please! <<Relax and enjoy...  These worms are a beneficial, even necessary detritivore>> Randy Stewart <<Regards, Eric Russell>>

Bristleworms  9/27/06 WWM Crew, <Mark> First of all I just wanted to let you all know this site has been an excellent source for me as a new SW Aquarium hobbyist.  But I awoke this morning to find an ominous looking fellow in the corner of my tank.  I suspect he came out of the LR, but it's been in my tank for over 6 months now and this is the first time I have seen it.  I tried to ID it and the best I could come up with is some type of bristle worm (large version). Any idea what type of worm it is? And should I get rid of it? <Is a bristle worm, and I would remove.  Smaller ones generally pose no problems, but this guy would go if it were me.  Forceps work well in removing them, and by all means, do not remove with your fingers. I have removed your personal information for your own privacy, as these queries are posted, and looked at by thousands of people.  In future queries, your first name is all that is necessary.  James (Salty Dog)> Mark

You have new Picture Mail! And Crap English!  - 09/14/06 Hey yous, great site yous got here, I spend lots of hours just checking things out. Well I'll be short with this question, what the heck is this? found it in my refugium this morning on the glass in the skimmer section. tank is only up and running three months,75 gal, 100 lbs of live rock, 3 inches of live sand, two damsels so far and apparently this thing, your help would be appreciated,  thank you,,, Chris..P.S sorry for the pic its from my cell phone. <... bizarre... but looks like a terrestrial larval insect... of which there are exceedingly few that are marine (though quite a few that are freshwater). This is likely a juvenile polychaete worm. BobF>

Annelid identification  7/15/06 Hey, <Is for equines s'posedly> I'm hoping that you can identify, or at least give me some clues as to where I could look to find out what a certain annelid is in my tank. <... there are dozens of families, thousands of species> The origin of all the rock and sand is from the gulf coast of Florida. <Helps narrow down the possibilities> The animals in question are around 1-2mm thick and of an unknown length as they live in tubes they construct from the substrate. They have three large, apparently sensory antennae on their heads, and two (or maybe more) small, pale appendages which they use to manipulate the substrate and drag sand to add to their tubes. <Oh, tube-dwelling...> They are overall a pale brownish orange colour, which is more brown on the head and first five segments, followed by a slightly longer section of lighter orange, and then an unknown length (but longer than the previous sections) of a darker brown colour. They can retract into their tubes quite rapidly, often while grasping a sizeable grain of sand. They don't appear to be the standard bristle worms, as they do not seem to have as many setae, and they have the antennae. Any idea what these could be? Thanks in advance! -Van <Good descriptions... and I did at one time sort and identify errantiates (for USD for a couple of years, for dredge-spoil analyses...), but I couldn't tell you even to what family this animal is. Perhaps try the Net... "Polychaetes of Florida"... or it's off to a large library (college) for a search. Bob Fenner>

Bristleworm? Worm ID - 10/21/2005 WW Crew, <Bryan> I think I have it ID'd but just want to make sure. I found this little critter making his way out of one of my rocks. In the picture it is about half its normal size. I think it's just a bristle worm, would I be right? <Yep, looks like a Bristleworm to me. Or a piece of one, at least.> Because of its size could this one harm my soft corals and inverts?  <Highly unlikely. More likely that this animal will be a mostly harmless detritivore for you.> Thanks, -Bryan <Wishing you well, -Sabrina> <<I am unable to "snag" the photo (save as). Is of a polychaete-type worm, fleshy, from pale tan and pink to brown in color, with lots of bristles.  Worm was shown next to U.S. quarter, probably about 1/4" in length.  Marina>>

here tis

Feather Dusters ? 8/15/05 Hello Crew <Howdy>   I wish that I could send you a picture of this one. I have an  overstocked 55g FOWLR. I am preparing a 180g  to transfer my fish over to.  The 55 has been going for about a year now. I have had 3 feather dusters in  there for about 6 months. I was adding 2 capfuls of live phytoplankton every  other day until the tank developed an algae bloom that I felt might be  feeding off of the phytoplankton. I realize that my high nitrates, 40 to 50mg/L  , and phosphates, 2.75mgL , aren't helping, <Yikes, I'll say> but I read that the algae could  be feeding off the food that I was adding for the worms. <Might, not likely a factor though... you've really got to address your water quality>      I added a 24 " hang-on refugium six weeks ago with  live rock, live sand, and red and green macro algae that a local fish store sold  me. The algae is full of all kinds of tiny critters that are multiplying like  rabbits.  My Foxface and tangs love the algae but I was wondering if these  small copepods or whatever are being eaten by the feather dusters. <Very likely so>    Back to the main question. I went on vaca <A cow?> for two weeks.  Someone fed the fish,  emptied the protein skimmer, and did a 10 % water  change while I was away. When returning, I noticed all the fish alive and well,  but 2 of the three worms are closed up and there are 4 small, about 1/2 "  tall reddish worms growing on a piece of rock . Their feathers appear to be  less uniform and spaced further apart than the real feather dusters. The stems  are  transparent. Are these nuisance worms or "children" from the larger  worms ?    And should I remove them ? Thanks for your  help. <More likely the latter, and I'd leave them be, transfer them to the new system... now, about that water quality... Bob Fenner>

Unknown Critter 7/23/05 Dear WWM Crew, <Ronnie> I have searched your site and others and have not found anything exactly like what I have found in my tank. The tank (30 gal. with about 25 lbs. of live rock and a 10 gal. sump) has been set up for almost three months, all the water parameters have remained in the desired range, although pH and calcium are currently marginal.  I have a few soft corals and no fish have been added yet.  The other day I moved a small piece of live rock and a "worm" that had been under it remained in the substrate.  It has a gray body about an inch and a half long with thin reddish tentacles at one end.  Apparently overnight it buried itself in the substrate and began building a mound of sand.   <Neat> The long tentacles are about one to two inches long and it uses these to pull grains of sand to build the mound.  At the center of the mound about six or seven short spines project upward.  This guy doesn't look friendly.  I'm sending a picture. <A nice one at that> The long tentacles are just visible in this shot.   Do you know what it is? Thanks Ron <Mmm, not exactly... some sort of polychaete likely... but there are thousands of species... I would not remove it at this juncture though... More to come as your system "matures"... Bob Fenner>

Worms ID? Pictures included Dear Anthony and crew, <Hey there> Last night I noticed one of the worms in my tank moving around a Turbo snail that has not acted "normal" for the last week. We took the enclosed photo and then got a probe out and started poking around. The worm was definitely eating the snail. I am a little worried since I have several other critters in the tank that I don't want the worm to eat (T. crocea, Nudibranch, another snail, and a cleaner shrimp). I have seen the worms quickly find the shed casing from the shrimp and eat it but the worms never seem to try to get anything that was alive and well. If this is just normal activity for a non harmful worm then that is fine. If this is a worm that needs removal I am ready to try that too. I looked in your book but could not decide what to call this worm. He is very stretched out in this photo. He appears to have been about seven inches in length. He was as you can see very stretched. After removal of the snail shell he snapped back abruptly and disappeared into the rock. This was about an hour after the halides had turned off and 30 minutes after the VHOs shut down. Joel PS Enjoying both of your books. Thanks so much for the hard work put into them. <Joel... from your description and pic I would definitely remove this worm... too big and predaceous to be trusted. Watch your hands on the "podia" structures (the furry things on the sides) as these are likely very sharp, possibly venomous. Bob Fenner>

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

Yellow worms ID - medusa/spaghetti 4/25/04  Hello,  <cheers>  I have a 125 Gal reef which I have had for about 5 years. Just over the last few months I have noticed these yellow worms like creatures. They remind me of almost anemone like. Most of the time they are buried under the sand or in my live rock with very thin tentacles sticking out. Taking pictures of them like that didn't come out very well so I waited until I could get a few with them stuck to the glass. If you could tell me what they are and if I need to get rid of them and how I would be very grateful. I tock these same pictures to the reef shop where I have bought all my live stock and he had no idea. I looked on the internet but not knowing what they were called didn't help much. Any info would be great. Thank You Chris Twining  <the pictures are clear enough of this unique animal my friend. Thank you. It is a harmless/helpful medusa worm (a true worm, not to be confused with the sea cucumber relative Synaptids of the same common name). Look at pages 170/171 of our new Reef Invertebrates book or online with the genera "Timarete" or "Loimia" for more information. Kindly, Anthony Calfo>
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