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FAQs about Featherduster/Tube- Worms 3

Related Articles: Featherduster Worms, Polychaete Worms

Related FAQ's: Featherduster Worms 1, Tubeworms 2Tubeworm ID, Tubeworm Behavior, Tubeworm Compatibility, Tubeworm Selection, Tubeworm System, Tubeworm Feeding, Tubeworm Disease, Tubeworm Reproduction, Polychaete Identification, Polychaete Behavior, Polychaete Compatibility, Polychaete System, Polychaete Selection, Polychaete Feeding, Polychaete Disease, Polychaete Reproduction

Most fishes leave Featherdusters alone... but not all. Big Wave Dave's very nice pic of a Commerson's Angler in Hawaii.

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>

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, 4 gal. sys.,   2/22/13
Hi crew
Not a question but an observation from a total newbie. Playing now for 3 weeks.
I've got myself a 20liter seawater tank with one clown, one candy, a red bamboo and about 3KG live rock, a brown feather duster, and two hairy crabs that I got rid of as fast as possible.
Filter is a simple small pump with sponge and ceramic "wheels".
The substrate is crushed coral with a lot of little creatures in there.
lights are a bank of white leds and 4 blue leds, that can be switched on in different brightness modes.
Water changes, 10% weekly, with top up for evaporation as necessary to keep level up with RO water.
Cooling with a fan I've build into the lid as our room temp here reach 34 deg C easily.
I do manage to keep the temp between 22.5 deg C and 25. 5 deg C.
I immediately started to overstock and overfeed. typical newbie.
<Ah yes>
The inhabitants now include a yellow tail damsel (blue with yellow tail), purple dotty back, skunk shrimp, red fire shrimp a red leg hermit crab and a emerald crab.
Also a few frags of different corals.
<You need a much larger volume... easier to maintain; less crash-likely>
Yesterday I got myself a lime green/white feather duster, but the tube looked damaged all over, with the open end ripped and lose pieces flapping all over, but it looked happy at the supplier.
The worm tried to show face, but the moment it feels the lose pieces moving,
it pulled back in my little tank.
I filled a jar with tank water, took the worm out and into the jar.
With  sharp scissors, (my wife's needle work one), I trimmed the tube while holding it under water, to a neat round mouth, and most of the different color softer material cut away.
I put the worm back in the tank, and 10 minutes later, it was out and looking for food with its crest pulled in curls like it try to look specially special.
It is still a bit nervous, but gets more and more confident by the hour.
Now you can come down like a ton of bricks on me, or just silently shake your heads, but I'm enjoying myself, my tank, and learning a mass of new things every day.
Thanks for the advice available on you site, and congratulations on all the little lives you save with your advice here.
Kobie Nel (from South Africa)
<Thanks for sharing. Bob Fenner>

(no subject)... or data  -- 10/12/11
Our feather duster looked great, healthy and was out all the time. We cleaned the tank, he went in his tube and hasn't come out. Today is second day.
Any idea's why? We have had him 6 months. Katherine
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/polychaebehfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Feather Duster, beh., rdg.   4/25/11
Have a feather duster for about 1 month. It had 2 heads in one tube. Today one head was lying in the sand. The head is wiggling all over and I don't know what to do. The head in the tube seems to be doing fine. Any ideas ??? lol
<Yes, read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/featherbehfaqs.htm
Bob Fenner>

Featherduster regeneration  -- 11/23/09
hi, my Featherduster blew its top a few days ago. I was hoping it would regrow a new one but I found a brown looking thing that looked dead. I took it out, it smelled bad. I think it was the worm but the tube is still sitting there no change! Would there be anything in the tube? Or should I throw the tube away!! Diane
<Leave it be and read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/featherbehfaqs.htm
and the linked files above, till you sense you understand sufficiently. Bob Fenner>

Christmas Tree Worms/Porites 10/9/09
<Hi Josiah>
I have a Spirobranchus Porites (Christmas tree worm rock), That I am a bit confused about. I bought it from a friend that owns a LFS; he told me it was rather easy to care for just to feed it some Microvert every couple of days.
<This coral is not the easiest to keep and requires intense lighting.>
Everything was fine for the first month or two but I have noticed that the coral is turning white maybe bleaching.
<Likely is from lack of light.>
I began to look on the internet for info to help me out and I have found quite a bit of conflicting info. Every person has a different opinion about how to care for this. I am confused about what to do; will the worms die if the coral dies,
<I'm not sure if the worms feed on the mucus from Porites, but I've read this a few times and as far as I know, there are no reports that support this.
may input his thoughts here.>
am I feeding it right,
<For both the worms and the coral I would feed with DT's Live Phytoplankton to increase the chances of survival.>
what should I do to save the coral.
<The bleaching may be to a point where it is irreversible.
Read here and linked files above.
My tank is a 100 gallon FOWLR and some various fan worms and sponges. I don't have any where near the amount of light I need to keep the coral, I can get it if I need to. Please help
<Refer to above.>
Thanks very much,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
P.S. Love the site tons of great info
<Glad you enjoy.>

Feather Duster confusion: General questions. 8/22/2009
Greetings Staff, Richard here,
<Hi Richard, MikeV at your service.>
I am new to the marine world and have valued the information you supply. My tank stats are simplistic at this time:
Age: 7 wks cycled with cultured live rock
Temp: 77.1 - 77.5 F
pH: 8.0 - 8.5
Salinity: 30 SG
Iodine: 0.01 - 0.02 mg/l
Calcium: 380 - 400 ppm
Spec Grav: 1.022 - 1.023
Nitrate: 0
Nitrite: 0
Ammonia: 0
<Everything sounds good so far.>
Occupants: 1 Serpent Star, 3 Chromis, 1 Electric Blue Striped Hermit Crab (if he is still in there - so tiny I can't tell.)
<They do tend to vanish in the substrate, but he is probably still there - look around with the lights out.>
I have reviewed the postings offered, and have learned a lot, but have either missed or not found info regarding the following. Could a Serpent Star be hazardous for a Feather Duster?
<No, Serpent stars feed on detritus. That said, if your tank is pretty barren, do leave it a very small amount food every couple of days right before lights out .>
What is the proper placement for a duster? I have found many contradictions regarding the latter - in vs. out of the substrate, shade vs. light, horizontal vs. perpendicular. I realize there will be some variance re species, but was hopeful for general guidelines.
<I keep mine vertical, tucked in some rocks, where its crown is in some indirect current. It must have liked my selection, because it anchored itself there.>
<As to where to put it, I would say anywhere it isn't in danger of being crushed by rocks, can get some light, and in an indirect current and you should be fine.>
I was also surprised regarding the "About Asking the WWM Crew a Question" page, in that the responses were negative towards you and the rest of the staff.
<Meh... it happens, Sometimes people ask questions, and get upset when the answer isn't what they want to hear.>
Personally, I regard your down-to-earth answers accompanied by appropriate humour to be much more useful then any encyclopaedia jargon could be.
<Hehehee, thank you.>
Keep up the great work (and frankly - I can't wait to see how you edit this letter of drudgery:)
<Naah, not too much editing on this one.>
Thank you for you patience,
<My pleasure.>
Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "...holy sh*t ...what a ride!"
George Carlin
<Which is why I treat my body not so much as a temple, but more like an amusement park.>

Feather Duster/Fan Worms -- 04/15/09
Good afternoon crew!
I'll start with the usual offering of praise and thanks (honestly it does have the feel of consulting a deity when composing an email to all of you, but I won't bestow on you that responsibility, yet :) ).
<<Many thanks 'but we are truly mere mortals here [grin]'¦simply, hobbyists trying to help hobbyists'¦>>
You guys <<and gals>> have allowed me to have tremendous "luck" in starting my very first aquarium, and wouldn't you know it I decided to go with a 29 gallon SW with fish and inverts!
Talk about a beginners set up huh?
I usually am pretty vague on my description of a set up because I've got a decent handle on the specs and my tank is doing so tremendously well, so forgive me if I come off as arrogant, I don't mean to and am quite humble is this regard.
<<Noted'¦ But do also realize that lack of information can make my reply little more than speculation>>
I will say that I have a 10 gallon sump with rocks only and a very nice protein skimmer.
Other than that, no other filter whatsoever. Two clowns, two cleaner shrimp, 3 adult Astreas and about 150-200 baby snails of some species.
<<Likely a Nassarius species'¦ I find this genus to be prolific breeders in home aquaria in many cases>>
I also have spaghetti worms all throughout my sand.
<<Most excellent>>
Oh, and some brittle stars, which you'll notice I mention later if you get through this enormous email.
<<Not falling asleep yet [grin]>>
What my question does concern is a recent explosion in fan worm population.
<<Not uncommon to new setups such as yours>>
I bought a red & white feather duster worm about 2 months ago and aside from the mini-brittle stars initial curiosity (of which I apparently have 10), he's done quite well.
<<Let's hope this continues'¦ These organisms generally require larger, more mature systems than yours, to get enough 'naturally occurring' prey organisms to feed upon>>
His fan is around 3". He's never shed and for all intents he "looks" healthy. He is of the "paper-bag" tube type.
<<Ah yes 'these with non-calcareous tubes are known as Sabellid worms>>
I don't think it's related but about 2 weeks ago I noticed a very small calcareous (sp?) <<calcareous>> tube worm with a red fan appear on one of my rocks,
<<And these with calcareous tubes are known as Serpulid worms>>
then a week later as I was gazing into the tank I noticed that attached to the clump of macro algae I have in the display was another one, only this one seems to have been growing for quite some time his squiggly little tube is probably about 4" long total (if I could stretch it out). He has a white fan that is about the size of a nickel when opened. After more investigation, I've located 5 more small ones.
<<Populations can often increase explosively 'and often disappear just as quickly>>
These worms fascinate me and I would love to keep them.
<<Unfortunately this is not likely'¦ They may stay around for a while 'but are likely to wax and wane. These worms came in on your live rock 'and are feeding on the abundance of natural food stuffs re'¦for the time being>>
My concern is, would it be safe to move them somewhere where I can see them better and I'm really concerned about being able to keep these fellas alive as I've read it's very difficult to feed/care for.
<<Moving them is not a problem as long as you move them with whatever substrata they are attached to. But as you have read/noted 'keeping them alive/providing enough of the right food stuffs is difficult and would likely entail frequent change out/replenishment of the live rock>>
I wouldn't consider moving them other than they're currently attached to the algae which is easy to trim and relocate.
<<Ah'¦yes indeed>>
What do you think?
<<What can it hurt? I say give it a try 'maybe even consider setting up another small aquarium with some algae and live rock for the worms alone. This may well make for their best chance at any long-term survival. Regards, EricR>>

Feather Duster... reading   10/7/08 I bought a feather duster about a week and a half ago. After placing it in my tank it was out for the rest of that day and the next morning. Since then I have only seen it come out maybe 4 times. I have seen the reproduction slime coming out. What could be wrong? What should I do? Thank you Wet Web Team. Jimmy <Uhh, need to know a bit more... re your system, history, other livestock, water quality/tests, foods/feeding... Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/featherbehfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Feather Duster   10/8/08 Bob, Ok my system is basic. 55 gal tank, 50lbs live rock, 80 lbs live sand, 2 24" t8 50/50, 1 36" t8 10k, Rena Filstar xp4 canister filter, Koralia 3 power head, 200gph power head, no heater( the temp stays at 78), clarkii clown, Ocellaris clown, Condy anemone, mushrooms, pulsing xenia, brittle star, about 30 red leg crabs and 24 various snails. Its been up for 3 months and does have green hair algae. I have the water tested by my LFS and have been told everything is ok. I use Catalina water and ro/di for water changes and top off. I use buffer every 2 days because my ph started at 7.9 and is now at 8.2. I feed phytoplankton 2 times a week and alternate flakes and mysis shrimp for food. Once again thank you so much for your help! <So... did you read where you were referred?> Jimmy Oh, also I had a sea hare that died which I took out immediately. <Mmmm, might be a factor... I'd be reading about these too. BobF>

Tubeworm Question… Dead, Dried, It's Alive! 01/02/08 Hi Crew, <Hi Benny, Mich here.> First of all would like to thank you guys for a very useful site. <On behalf of Bob and the rest of the crew you are quite welcome!> My question is, few days back I bought 2 tubeworms from my LFS. Both of them looked very lively. When I came back I floated the bags and then after place them in the tanks. <OK.> One of the tubeworm eventually came up after a couple of minutes, but the other did not. 4 days has passed it didn't came up and its tube is starting to change in color. I thought it was dead as the tube looked like it was beginning to rot. So I took it out and left it by the table for 2 days. It is dry so I cut open its tube to see what's inside. To my surprise it is still ALIVE!!! <Uh-oh!> Obviously I placed it back into the tank. <Good.> What should I do? <Just give it time and optimal water conditions is the best you can do.> How can I help it repair its damaged tube or will it make a new tube? <It can make a new tube. But it takes time. Try to keep the feather duster protected from crabs, shrimp and fish as best you can... Do you have a refugium or somewhere it might be a little more protected until it can rebuild? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/featherbehfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/featherdisfaqs.htm > Thank you, Benny <Welcome, Mich>

A bit confused about this -11/24/07 Dear Mr. Fenner, Hello, groovy site - very handy - have tried to find a query something like this. Tube worms. Having an issue I think, thought I'd better get your thoughts on it. We have got 5 full grown tube worms - <Could you be a bit more specific? What kind of tube worms?> 2 tube worms joined the group coming up to 1 &1/2 months ago. They seemed fine. One was a bit shy from the start and then over one night became very active. It kept popping its head and torso out of the tube quite a distance and "looking around" then retreating very swiftly. This made us feel it was probably just nosey but well in itself. <Hmm... probably not.> Then I came home and found what appeared to be it having torn in half - the front half laying on the sand and moving a tiny amount. It did look quite painful. <Did you ever see the other half? Are you sure it actually tore in half? and that it wasn't just "bunched up?"> As it was moving I left it alone. About 3 hours later I had a look and it had disappeared. Do you think it is still alive and hidden completely in the sand? <It's possible.> The only hermit in there is significantly smaller than the worm. Will the other bottom half grow a new head AND neck? <Feather duster worms can shed their crown and then regrow them. However, the shed crown wouldn't be wiggling around (at least I've never seen/heard of this).> Any thoughts would be very much appreciated. <I don't know what kind of worms these are, but it sounds to me like the worm was stressed and attempting to leave its tube (and maybe it was stuck?) In any case, please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/featherselfaqs.htm> Kind Regards, A.Young <Best, Sara M.>

Feather duster question... beh. Hi there. We are salt water newbie's. We have a 90 Gal Salt water tank that was given to us. It was up and running for 6 yrs (live rock & fish only) prior to the tank being moved to our house. Now it has been up and running for approx. 2-3 months. We bought a feather duster, 2 yellow tail damsels, 2 peppermint shrimp and some small hermit crabs to start off with. All seemed to be doing fine, but we went for a water test and we were told that our ammonia and nitrites were just a little high <? You should have none... and, importantly, I would NOT take someone else's opinion/tests for this/these... GET your own kits...> and they recommended for us to use a product called Turbo Start 900 and to put 9 capfuls in the tank. <... go to another store> All ok for a few days, then our feather duster opened and closed a few times and one night just went in and pinched himself tightly closed it has not opened up and come out since. It has been three days now. He has not lost his crown, <Don't panic! This does happen... might be totally unrelated... Will likely regenerate a new one... just leave it in place> and we have not seen any signs of a worm anywhere in the tank. Can he still be inside there? <Yes...> How can I tell if it's dead or alive? Do we remove it? <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/featherbehfaqs.htm> We've read a lot of your articles (very informative) and have not seen this sort of problem (unless we overlooked it, in which case, we're sorry). Any ideas here? Your knowledge and expertise would be greatly appreciated! :-) Thank you, Margie <Welcome... take your time here (everywhere...) and enjoy the process. I doubt you have a nitrogenous problem... but the TS product won't hurt... Bob Fenner>

Attention Bob Fenner Re: Quarantining Lawnmower Blenny & Feather Dusters. AEB comp. f'    8/8/07 Hi Bob!! <Kerry> Thanks so much for the prompt reply to my query; it was good to know that the action we took and our back-up plan are appropriate. <Yes... at least what I would have done also!> There is one thing that we would appreciate having clarified. Our research indicates that Feather Dusters should be kept submerged; doing so will introduce some water from the quarantine tank ("critters" were put in on August 2nd), perhaps 2 cups or so (keeping only that small amount to move the Feather Dusters over). Under "normal circumstances" (if such exists) we would be reluctant to transfer water with anything that has been in quarantine for this short time. <They are indeed completely aquatic organisms... So yes to keeping them underwater> Would you suggest moving them in that small volume of water directly into our display tank; or using that volume and drip acclimating them again (as we did when we brought them home into the quarantine tank); or removing them into a small container and "changing" the water with a couple equal volumes of prepared seawater we have waiting for our next water change; or moving them quickly through the air into the display tank (with very minimal exposure to the air)? <Straight transfer underwater> Seeing the interaction (definitely one sided) between "Benny" and the Feather Dusters confirms what I've always known; I'm glad that I'm never too old to learn (but most days I wish that the "learning curve" wasn't quite so steep). <Am grateful to not be backsliding on this curve as yet!> Thanks again, Kerry <Cheers, BobF>

Duster regen.   9/26/06 Hi......one day one of my live rock fell down so I went to put it up and didn't realize that my tubeworm was suck on it and I accident pull the tube out of the worm. is the worm going to be ok w/out the tube? <... read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/featherbehfaqs.htm RMF>

Feather duster explosion   6/9/06 I have a 55 gal salt with a grouper and a few pieces of live rock. Over the past few months the few feather dusters in the tank have multiplied into the thousands. I can't even see the sand on half of the tank. These worms have taken over. Is there any fish or invert that will consume these worms or will I have to remove them myself. Thank you in advance. Jeff <There are. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feathercompfaqs.htm Bob Fenner>

Christmas Tree Worm Care  - 05/10/2006 Hi Crew, <Hey Howard, how goes it?> My question regards the keeping of Christmas Tree worms. <Okay.>   I recently  got 2 pieces of rock 4-6" that is covered with Porites coral and numerous  small Christmas Tree worms which are now in my 55 gal. <Neat…> Florida live rock tank  with various hermits and snails.  The tank has 4 X 65 watt PC lighting and  I try to keep my water parameters as good as I possibly can with a SG of 1.026,  PH 8.2, Alk. 11 dKH, and nitrates always close to 0. <Good.> I have read that Christmas tree worms in general prefer lower light and low flow conditions such as under a rock cave or similar. <Different species are adapted to different niches.>   I've also read  however that the Porites coral rock they are located in is a very high light  loving specimen and also requires good water flow. <Yes.> My question is should  these rocks be placed high up and as close to the lights as possible and be  given good water flow..... <Yes…if you want the Porites to survive.> or lower down on the substrate out of the bright light  and in a lower flow area? <See above, these worms are likely adapted to the same niche as the Porites, in the wild and in the aquarium however you will most likely see them actively feeding at night.>   Also,  would these worms survive on feeding  of DT's  phytoplankton alone given every other day, or would other supplemental  foods also be necessary? <This along with a refugium would be my choice.> These specimens are quite beautiful and I really want to give them the best care I possibly can!  Thanks. <Anytime.> Regards,  Howard W. <Adam J.>

Feather Duster  - 03/11/2006 Hello, my fishy friends! <Hi> Thanks for all the help - and the confusion (bristleworms, good or bad? 6-line wrasse, "really" reef-safe or not?)  ;-) <Mmm, welcome> I think I have found the answer to my question in the FAQ's, just trying to verify.  A couple of weeks ago I bought one of the small feather dusters (red/white head, tube about 3" long, smaller in diameter than a pencil).  I drip-acclimated him like I do everything, then put him in a crevice where the bottom of the tube would be in the substrate.  I never once saw him come out of his tube.  A few days later I noticed that he wasn't getting much light where he was so I was going to move him, <Mmm, best not to> but when I removed the tube it seemed empty.  I didn't actually watch the guy at the LFS bag him, but I left the tube in my tank just to be sure in case he was still in there. <Good> Now, this morning when I turned the lights on in my nano, there was a tan lump about the size of an M&M sticking out of one of my pieces of live rock. Once the lights went on, it started pulsating and eventually disappeared. The tank is about a month old and everything in it either came out of my 60-gallon tank or I bought as a frag.  Is that thing my feather duster? <Could very well be> I have a lot of small feather dusters in my other tank, but since the heads come directly out of live rock I don't know what their bodies look like.  If that is him, will he decide tube-life is not for him and make his new home in my live rock? <Will actually generate another "tube"... What a planet eh? Bob Fenner> Thanks!

Feathers and Fungia  11/22/05 Hi guys <Hey, Mike G with you tonight.> I was hoping you could help me with a few problems I'm experiencing.  <Absolutely.> Firstly, I have a 47g reef with a Eheim 2026 pro II filter <I tend to look at (canister) filters on reef aquaria as more harm than good. Sediment, etc. gets trapped (as it should) in its media and contributes to a buildup of nitrates. They're so effective at this that they've been dubbed "nitrate factories" by reef aquarists. I'd remove it unless you have a really good reason not to.> an Aqua-C Remora running off a Maxi-Jet 1200 <Great skimmer.> 3 X Maxi-Jet 900s (1 with rotating head) <They come with those? And to think: all this time I've relied on PowerSweeps, the lowest of low submersible pumps, for a sweeping water motion.> a couple of 150W heaters and an Arcadia over tank Luminaire with 156 Watts of daylight and blue actinic (together with moonlights - all on timers). In the tank, I have about 30 Kilo live rock (on a buried DIY platform) and 3" of CaribSea Aragonite sand.  <Sounds like a very nice setup.> As for live-stock, I have 2 very small Percula Clowns, 2 small Green Chromis, 1 small Andaman Damselfish and 1 small Royal Gramma <I'd say you're near max'ed out in terms of fish.> as well as about 12 dwarf hermits, about 25 mixed snails, 2 Peppermint Shrimps, 2 Feather Dusters, some Clove Polyps, Yellow Polyps and a Disc Coral.  <Fungia?> The tank is only 3 or 4 months old though most parameters are fine - nil Ammonia, Nitrite, Phosphate and Organics. Nitrate <5 ppm, Temp 24 - 26C, PH about 8.1/8.2, SG 1.025, Oxygen 7 mg/l, and Carbonate Hardness high at 13 dKH, with Calcium low at 300 mg/l (I'm using a buffer but am going to have to consider using 2-part or Kalkwasser).  <C-Balance works wonders.> Phew, now for the questions; firstly, my Feather Dusters seem to be receiving regular haircuts as their 'feathers' are being gradually shortened - any ideas who could be the culprit(s)?  <Yes: themselves. Featherdusters will shed their crown when stressed or starving, the latter being the case most often. Home aquaria simply do not contain enough (or the right kind) of the food they require (and we don't even know what, specifically they require!).  Phytoplankton (I like DT's) can help sustain them, but, unfortunately, most large Featherdusters won't survive very long in home aquaria.> Secondly, the Disc Coral was placed on a rock yet seems to be slowly heading south - IYO would it be better placed on the substrate?  <Absolutely. Fungia (if that is, indeed what you are referring to) are substrate-dwellers by nature. Could also be a condition with your lighting setup - 156w of Power Compacts is not too much light, especially when some of it is actinic. Try upping the lighting, moving to substrate, not necessarily in that order, and see how it does.> Next, I lost a Green Chromis which was rapidly devoured by the hermits, Shrimp and snails.  <Totally, completely, normal.> However, they left the head and skeleton which has disappeared within the sand. Do you see any potential problems with it remaining there?  <Nope.> Finally - and the biggie - I have always had a problem with heaters! I have gone through about 5 now (all at 150W and including digitally switched heaters) trying to find 1 that keeps the tank at the temperature indicated. During summer months the temperature remained pretty stable although I always had to set the heater at a very low indicated temperature to obtain the correct range.   <Very strange, indeed.> Now that it's much colder however, I have had to turn the heater up, although the temperature indicated is still below the actual temperature and it fluctuates wildly!  Would you suggest perhaps going for a 200W or 300W heater or maybe stick with the second heater I've installed (1 at each end) bearing in mind that the tank is already cramped with equipment?  <I'd recommend you go with one larger heater of a different brand (this one does not seem too reliable).> Any help with these problems would make you the best thing since 'The Conscientious Marine Aquarist' <That honor goes to Bob.> many thanks, Steve Morse. <Best of luck. Mike G.> 

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> Hawaiian Feather Duster Query We bought a feather duster for our saltwater tank over the weekend. For the past 24 hours, it has not come out. What is wrong?  I love watching them and prior to this, it was out a lot. They are loving creatures and I need help in caring for it. <These worms are wonderful additions to your aquarium- But keep a few things in mind.  They can't be lifted from the water, as trapped air can be fatal.  They also need to be placed in a few inches of sand or substrate.  Read more about these interesting animals here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feather.htm> Thank you

Basic set up and keeping feather dusters. Dear WWM,<< Blundell here. >>   Finally after 4 weeks my tank is back in one piece again!!! Awesome! The setup is a 72G bowfront with a Remora skimmer, Eheim wet/dry with one tray full of biological media replaced by an ounce of carbon and three ounces of RowaPhos and 20 x 75% = 15X circulation. I used to have a 3 inch sand bed of sugar sized aragonite, to which I added another inch of 0.2 -0.5mm sized aragonite for a total of 130 lbs, on top of which rests 75 lbs of Fiji live rock with tiny little starfish and a dozen red feather duster worms about a quarter inch across and one brown one that is an inch across. << Sounds good. >>   The tank is stocked with a pair of Lysmata amboinensis, an Amphiprion ocellaris and a Pseudochromis fridmani. I have 190 watts of actinic and 190 watts of daylight for lighting since I'd like to try a few beginner soft corals in a few months. << Sounds okay. >>   First, within 24 hours with just the actinic on, I have a few spots of Cyanobacteria! Is it normal to go through the whole Cyano/hair algae cycles again, with just the addition of live rock and more sand!!???<< Yep, no problem, sounds like part of the maturing process. >> I don't want this batch of live rock to be ruined by hair algae, so in addition to RowaPhos, reduced feeding and bioload, and adding Kalkwasser to keep ph above 8.1 for the coralline, what else can I do? << Just give it time. >>   Second, I wasn't planning to get feather dusters, but now that I have some, I'd like to keep them alive. My plan is to remove all mechanical filtration and just let the worms feed on the Selcon and food juice that comes with the Mysis and frozen plankton. Am I deluding myself here? << I would add rotifers and phytoplankton to the water weekly to keep them thriving. >> Would adding some coral food to the water help.<< Absolutely. >> The WWM database suggests adding clam juice or frapped frozen food to the tank with mechanical filtration switched off, but I see a problem with this feeding an algal bloom. << Yes, live food is best.  Otherwise you do risk the added nutrient problems, therefore after feeding (like an hour later) you need your filtration turned back on. >>   Finally, I re-setup the remora with excellent results! I have a MaxiJet 1200 without the intake box. I had originally set the skimmer up with the pump intake directly under the skimmer outflow, and used to get a cup of green tea a week. Now I have the pump flipped so the body of the pump shields the intake from the outflow and I get a cup of green tea in the first 24 hrs! Hope this observation helps someone else! << Thanks for the tip. >> Thank You... Narayan <<  Blundell  >>

Feeding Featherdusters Hi there! <Hi Leslie, MacL here with you today. Sorry for the slow response> Couple of quick questions for you...What do I feed feather duster worms? At the moment they are getting green micro algae and Artemia. <From the faq on Feather Dusters, 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'd 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?). You can read more about them at http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feather.htm. Basically the feather dusters are filter feeders.> How bright a light do they need e.g.. is one ceiling fluor okay or do they need brighter light (someone has put an ultra bright halogen light over them and I have not seen them put out there "feather dusters" since!)? (By the way these are a cold water worm from South Australia). <If they are a cold water worm are they in cold water? That's more likely your problem then lighting. > Secondly, we have an annoying bright pink growth making its way through the many recirculating tanks. Some think its an algae, others a fungus. It does no apparent harm and only presents as a very fine coating on tank surfaces.. <I would suggest looking at www.algae-base.org for an identification although to be honest it sounds to me like you are having a problem with Cyano algae. Is that a possibility?> Thanks, Leslie

Should I collect my own feather dusters? Hi am thinking of collecting some yellow feather dusters that live in colonies from local waters for my aquarium. Can you suggest the best method of collection. << Well I'm not sure what your local laws and regulations are, but I think feather dusters are easy to gently pull off. >> My aquarium is 40 gallon or so how many should I look at getting and I presently have five different damsels namely lemon, blue/yellow, sergeant major and two wild caught with eye spots one is blue/black the other is blue/yellow that I have never managed to ID. << It is all about food for dusters.  I suggest just getting a couple, making sure they do well, then consider adding more. They key is feeding them lots of plankton. >> I have a wrasse similar to a Christmas wrasse (also wild caught) various small starfish, a cowry, an orange slug and two purple/orange/black nudibranchs (all wild caught), oh and a closed brain coral. Will any of these harm the feather dusters? << Yes, the wrasse and cowry are possibilities. No way to know for sure.  If they are all well fed, then I wouldn't worry about it. >> The sergeant major tends to pick at the coral when it has been fed but it doesn't seem to harm the polyps just pinches its food. From what I have read they are fed much the same as the coral small shrimp etc squirted into/onto it. Do they need specific lighting conditions? << Not really. >> And on another note I would love to get a clown fish, Nemo specifically, the LFS has them in regularly but wont hold fish for more than a day, am unable to go to another LFS inside of 5 hours drive away or else I would as this one knows bugger all about marines but stock and sell them anyway. Are the clownfish prone to diseases, which ones, are they readily treatable in the display aquarium, would a cleaner wrasse solve those problems better (have read not to get one unless diseases are present as they would likely starve is this true) << Yeah, stay away from cleaner wrasse.  Most Anemonefish are very durable and great beginner fish.  Just make sure they are eating, look healthy, and well quarantined. >>, are they compatible with my other fish/invertebrates? So many questions sorry much appreciate this and looking forward to your answers! << Should be good fish, good luck. >> Nicole <<  Blundell  >> Nutrient Control Issues hello; i have a problem with an exploding population of these snails. could you suggest a safe method of extermination? a fish only tank with lots of live rock and a few anemones...thanks! mark s  <Hi, Ryan with you today. These guys are small dusters/worms which form calcareous tubing on the glass of an aquarium. My guess is that they're multiplying in vast amounts because of large amounts of unnecessary nutrients in your water. They're stationary, filter feeders. As soon as their food supply is exhausted, their population will follow. Are you overfeeding? Ryan>

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.>

Spirobranchus giganteus - 4/30/2004  Hail to the Crew:  <howdy>  I have been researching the Christmas Tree Worm burrowed in a Porites coral. The specific one at my LFS is a yellow Porites, which they say needs bright light.  <very very bright lights... this coral occurs in ankle deep water in the tropics>  Also, most all the FAQ's say they need high light and water movement.  <correct>  However, my confusion comes with the photo caption on the page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaetes.htm. It says "Need frequent particulate feedings, low light."  <the worm, not the coral... and "need" is not the right word here. They are azooxanthellate (non-photosynthetic, and light matters little if you can prevent algae from encroaching>>  Now, I appreciate differing opinions, but could this have been misstated on the photo page? Could it possibly be that the Porites requires high light, but the worms don't?  <correct>  That would seem like an unusual "relationship".  <as per above... the coral needs light, the worm cares not>  Thanks for all you do. When people follow your advice, lives are saved. Rich  <thanks kindly my friend... best of luck! Anthony>

Fan worms out of control! What do I do? - 4/27/04  Hi, I have a two month old FOWLR tank with a fan worm epidemic. <Maybe perhaps there are high nitrates in the tank or much left over food> A month ago, I noticed what looked like a blue fan worm growing on one of my scarlet reef hermit's shell. <One of many place you can and will fine them> I was excited at first, <I would be> but all of a sudden these things were everywhere. <Not unheard of at all> Covering my snails, and crab shells. I sent pictures and contacted the company that I bought my snails from and they said it was Aiptasia and to get rid of it ASAP. <WHAT?! Big difference here in my opinion, but I am sure there is more to this diagnosis than I am hearing...anyhoo...> My scarlet reef's were dying from an unknown cause at the time, <In my opinion, these are not exactly as hardy as the other hermits offered to the trade> so I believed them and thought the Aiptasia was doing it. Therefore I scraped all these "things" off everything I could find. <Ahhh....too bad.> Recently I have been doing some more research and discovered they were fan worms. The little calcareous Serpulids, and fan worms were not Aiptasia. <Exactly> I was devastated, knowing I had killed such beautiful creatures. <Well, more will appear> I only had one that had any color, and it was a beautiful blue. HOWEVER....., I have been noticing that these things are still everywhere. Growing and reproducing at an alarming rate. Unfortunately none are blue like my favorite, but they still are beautiful. <I agree> My question is, should I limit their growth? I have hundreds of practically microscopic ones on my snail and crab shells, but there are still more than a couple dozen on my live rock that are starting to grow quite large. <Won't hurt a thing. I would leave them, but do be aware of water quality. There proliferation is sometimes less enigmatic and more an indication of water quality going awry> Will this overgrowth of fan worms be okay? <Sure. Doing what they do best. Feeding out of the water column> Is there such a thing as too many? <Not in my experience> I have been told that this means the water quality is good. <Not really. Proliferation of macro life is more an indication of water quality....that is true. Good or Bad is a relative term. Do research our FAQs on fanworms> Trust me, after all I've been through, I am definitely patting myself on the back, but should I be more concerned at their numbers? <Not their numbers but do go through some water testing to make sure that something isn't headed in a bad direction> Please let me know what your thoughts are. <You got 'em> Thank you so much again for the absolutely wonderful help.<What we do!> You guys are the greatest. <So our all our readers. Thanks for being part of it all. ~Paul>

Feather Duster Hello, <Hi, Graham at your service.> We finally found your wonderful site of information.   <We're glad that you find the site useful!> We have a 75 gal. that has cycled.  It is about 1 month old.  We just recently added 2 Hawaiian feather dusters.  This morning we saw that one of them has completely left his tube with crown.  It also had a web like matter coming from it.  What could be the problem?   <Many times tube worms will leave their tube due to stress- possibly something is bothering it, too much current, or poor water conditions.> We are feeding it DTs phytoplankton.  We have a crushed coral substrate.  Will it be able to re-build its tube with that substrate? <Fortunately, in a healthy environment, the worm will be able to regrow its tube within weeks or months.> Thank you!!! <Take Care, Graham.> Joan Tipton

Feather Duster Question 3/8/04 Hey:  I have a feather duster question...  I have had one for about two weeks and now he starts coming out of his tube... but he goes back in if he gets scared...  Looks like he gets out and his crown is out and he looks around with it or something...  Is something wrong with him or is this normal..  Thanks a lot <It is probably normal.  Feather duster tubes are often damaged in transport.  It will be reconstructed in time if the animal is healthy and getting enough food.  Losing "feathers" from it's crown would be a bad sign.  Best Regards.  Adam>\

De-tubed feather duster My husband bought a rather large feather duster for my tank today.  It's tube is about 1/2" (12mm) diameter & about 8" (20cm) long.  He put it in a hole in the live rock at lunchtime, about 3" would fit down in the hole.  At dinnertime, I noticed it was sagging a lot and getting close to another coral.  My husband wasn't home, so I decided to move it.  It wasn't coming out of the hole very easily, but it finally came out.  Well, the tube did, anyways.  So now, I have an empty tube and the feather duster is still in the hole in the rock.  I can see it way down in there, but I can't get to it.  Will it rebuild it's tube? <Possibly, yes> What an idiot I am, I knew I shouldn't have forced it out if it was stuck.  Will it live?  Will my husband kill me? :) Thanks in advance. Lisa <Don't know about spouse... but I give you good odds, and the worm too, of surviving, building (and keeping) a happy home. Bob Fenner>

The Tube Is There- But Is Anyone Home? (Missing Feather Duster) Hello guys, this is Bart from Southern California.  The service you guys provide is invaluable.  If it wasn't for your assistance, I would have given up long ago. <Glad that we've been a source of encouragement! Scott F. with you today!> Attached is a picture of my 5 gallon nano-reef. <Very nice!> I purchased a light green feather duster at the beginning of the year. After laying him on the surface of the sand he immediately started boring into the sand from his back end.  While performing maintenance duties, I noticed a tube made of sand alongside the tube worm.  After trying to move it I realized it was attached to the old tube. Apparently, he got busy and extended his tube 2 inches into the sand and it just recently managed to come to the surface of the sand.  Problem is I never see him anymore.  Now this has been a couple weeks and I see no activity whatsoever.  Do you think he is still alive?  What will happen to the old piece of tube? <It will probably decompose or crumble over time, or perhaps another animal will "adopt" it as a home!> It appears to be crumbling and apparently deserted, but is still attached to the new piece of tube. Thanks for your assistance. <Well, I've always been a big on holding out hope 'till the last possible minute. Typically, these worms will emerge after a week or so if they are indeed alive. However, why not give it a little more time? As long as water quality has not been compromised by a decomposing animal, it's worth the wait. Keep your eyes peeled and your fingers crossed! Good luck! Regards, Scott F>

Are Featherdusters tasty? Hello <Hi> I saw a  7"x3" piece of rock which had about 20 small 1cm blue Featherdusters? present. I would love to add it to my reef setup but before i shell out $60 i thought that I would research their possible predators. I have red scarlet hermits, blue legged hermits, orange Linckia star, turbo and Astrea snails, purple tilefish, pair maroon clowns, Lemonpeel angel, citrus clown, yellow watchman goby, small conch, pistol shrimp, two fire shrimp, two cleaner shrimp, two peppermint shrimp, a rose bubble tip anemone, and various corals. tank has been running for 8 months with minimal problems (the most mysterious being the unexplained death of the bicolor blenny last seen happily swimming about his small cave, later that evening to be found deceased in a shallow rift of live rock, no apparent disease but some possible trauma to his midsection, I suspect the purple tilefish  which had been just released into the neighborhood ,but he swears he was with the cleaner shrimps all night. The case has gone cold and no other mortalities have been reported!) Thanks for your expertise and time. Mr. S. Holmes <Well, the good news is that nothing in your tank will nip or bother the worms (besides the lemon peel angel which has a chance for nipping at the coral and feather dusters, although I wouldn't be too worried unless the angel has been previously nipping at other invertebrates or coral). Because you mentioned "Blue feather dusters," this makes me think that you're referring to Christmas tree worms. The worms are found in a small polyped Scleractinian (SPS) coral which is in the genus Porites. This coral that the worms host in will require intense amounts of lighting, preferably metal halides. If you do not either have intense amounts of fluorescent lighting (T-5, VHO or Power Compacts) or metal halides, I would not recommend this coral/worms. If you do decide to buy the coral, first make sure that you have proper water quality and proper amounts of current. Because the host coral (which the feather dusters are in) is an SPS, it will require generally strong amounts of current. Water quality should be great, which means no phosphate, no nitrite, no ammonia, little amounts of nitrate, pH of around 8.2, Salinity of around 1.025, and a steady temperature. Because this host coral is calcium carbonate based, it will require a calcium of around 450ppm and an alkalinity of around 8-14dKH. The coral can be delicate to keep, but in the proper environment this can be a stunning addition! Good luck, Graham.>

-Featherduster feeding- <Kevin here, how are ya?> Hey, just wanted to tell you thanks for the help on my sea urchin question, and I have one other question to ask. I just got a Featherduster and the guy at the pet shop said that he would require no special feeding <wrong> and live on the fine particles that are naturally in the aquarium <true, but not for the long haul> (I guess stuff like the small particles of food that aren't eaten by the fish) I am now reading that they need to be feed. Can you please answer this question. <I'd recommend one or two of the many live, freeze dried, refrigerated, frozen, etc brands of phytoplankton, preferably DT's live phyto. Follow the directions on the bottle, usually a few times a week should suffice.> My last question is how long do they generally live, I have been unable to get a answer to this anywhere on the internet. <Short answer: They do well if fed properly and are otherwise very hardy.> Thank you very much in advance you guys are great. <I hope this helps! -Kevin>

Tiny New Ones >I am curious about small creatures emerging from my live rock.  They appear to be similar to a feather duster in appearance.  Their casing (1mm diam) is white and is growing about 2mm weekly.  The filter is slightly purple in coloration and is almost jellyfish-like and when extended is about 7mm diameter.  The 75 gal marine tank with about 100 lbs live rock has been set up since Sept 03 but these critters have just started to appear.  Any thoughts?  Bill (cafacman) >>Hhmm.. I would guess (without any pictures to help with identification - NOT that I'd necessarily be able to identify with a picture anyway)  that they are a worm of some sort.  Beyond that, I couldn't begin to venture a proper guess.  However, as to the relatively recent population boom, I would surmise that it is one of two scenarios, or a combination of both, those being that A: tank conditions are only just now "right" for them to repopulate (remember, you wouldn't get them if there weren't at least a few to begin with), which would make some sense as the tank's only now just beginning to mature; or B: they've been there in small numbers, and population density has now hit levels at which they're more noticeable (think "real estate").  Know that this sort of thing is entirely common.  Marina Live Rock Denizens (1/11/2004) I purchased some live rock from my local pet store and saw several things that looked like extremely tiny red anemones, actually more like a very small feather duster.  The base is red along with the "tentacles" that come out.  I never see them go into the base/tube but they do "flow" in the current like a duster would.  The self proclaimed fish expert at this store called them Spaghetti worms, but I have never seen a Spaghetti worm that looked like these.  Any clue as to what they are?  Any info will be greatly appreciated.  Thank you....  Steve <Hard to say for sure without seeing them myself, but they do should like tiny Sabellid fanworms by your description. Look here for more info:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feather.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaetes.htm Hope this helps. Steve Allen>

Splitting feather worm?? Hi whoever :-) <Adam today!> This is Des. This isn't really a problem but I can't seem to find much info on the topic. Steve Pro suggested that I ask the crew particularly Anthony. I have a  feather worm that has been in my tank approximately a year and a half. The  other day I noticed two mouths!  Steve suggested I send a photo but alas my camera is acting up. Anyway there are definitely two mouths and I wondered if this is how  they reproduce? <A photo is always helpful, but I think you are exactly right!  In a little while, you will probably have two feather dusters.> Also I wondered what is likely to happen. Will it: a. Just sit there with two mouths sharing the same tube? <Possible.  No idea how long splitting may take.> b. Eventually have one or both of the blow the coop and one or both make a new tube. <Probably.  One will probably leave the current tube to build it's own.> c. other? <Maybe.  Dunno for sure.> Also I noticed that it is not quite open as long as much as usual. Could this be the stress of doubling? <Very well could be.  Dividing is an energy intensive process for any animal.> Anyway this isn't earthshaking but I was curious. <Not earth shattering, but a nice report.  Please do updated us if it splits.  Please also include photo documentation if possible.  This is the first I have heard of this and have never seen it documented, so your report could make a great educational tool.> Thanks, --des <Thank you!  Best regards.  Adam>

Calcareous tube worms.. LOTS!!! 1/1/04 I have several problems, possibly related, possibly not. <Happy New Year, Pat!  Let's see what we can figure out.> First, I have an infestation of what I think (from your FAQ's) are calcareous tube type worms. Unfortunately, none of the descriptions quite match what I have. For me, each tube is about 1/8" in dia and pretty long (embedded in the sand) the "worm" though is 1 (occasionally 2) long things. The worms are translucent and only the dia of a human hair. (But very mobile. they extend roughly 1" from the tube. They appear featureless. I do not have a camera good enough for sharp photos so. tubes.jpg is a shot of the tubes. The problem is not so much the mere existence of the critters but the sheer number of them. When I blow the sand away from a section of the tank, there are around 10 tubes per square inch (!) All the tentacles wriggling on the bed look like intertwined spaghetti <No pic is even necessary.  These worms are highly beneficial scavengers.  They can reproduce to surprisingly high densities in the absence of predators.  Enjoy them!> I used to have a sand sifter (starfish) the worms appeared shortly after the demise of the star. Would replacing it solve the problem? (Or, did the worms kill the star) <Your sand sifting star was eating the worms.  The stars are very efficient predators of beneficial sand bed critters.  I would strongly recommend not replacing the star.  The worm population will probably rise and fall on it's own, and will be dependant on feeding.  If you want to control the worms, the best way is to limit their food.> Second, about a month ago The damsel, shown in damselindistress.jpg, showed up in the morning with a "hole" about the size of a dime in its side. The scales and skin looked like they had been sheared off. All that was left was the raw flesh of the fish. We decided to wait a few days to see what happened (chasing him around my coral tank with a net was NOT on my list of things to do for fun...) amazingly, he got. better. The skin/scales reappeared, although they're pretty misshapen. You can see the affected area in this shot. (This is background.) <My guess is that this was from physical trauma, probably being scraped on a rock.  If it has healed, I wouldn't worry about it.> I had a Yellow Tang. It was happy. I saw it swimming happily a few weeks ago. A few minutes later, my son called me into the room. The tang was inverted & jerking. Then it stopped breathing. just like that. Dead. (This too is background) <This is a bit odd.  If you had only had the fish for a short period of time, it probably was shipping stress.> The next problem is (poorly) shown in the 2 images, clown 1 and clown 2 this fish got sick the day after the tang died. One of its eyes bulged out of its socket (WAY out) and spots appeared on its tail. We waited, hoping it would last thru Christmas (my son is quite attached to this particular clown, due, in part, to her. unusual. incomplete banding.) <When both eyes "pop out", it is usually an infection and can sometimes lead to loss of one or both eyes.  When only one pops out, it is usually because of injury and heals with no problem.  The spots look like Cryptocaryon (ich).> It did. After sitting on the bottom (among the worms) for a few days, the bulging eye receded. It began to eat. Its breathing no longer appeared. labored.  But the spots on the tail spread all over her. They're pretty big.  Some appear to be under the skin (like bubbles) and others look like tiny domes. <I would remove the clown to quarantine until it recovers.  Please read up and/or send a better pic to verify that it is ich (the "like bubbles" leaves a question).  In any case, a proper freshwater dip followed by a couple of weeks of hyposalinity are indicated.> Before all this, I had a very stable 55 gallon reef tank for 2 years! It was good enough to allow me to cultivate and sell a LOT of xenia. The chemistry has always been great. <It sounds like something is stressing your fish.  I would look for a fish that may be bullying the others.> In short: 1. How do I reduce the amount of worms? <As said, a booming population may be an indication of overfeeding.  Cutting back on the food a bit should reduce the population, but they are harmless.> 2. How do I save the clown? <See above.> Thanks, Pat
<Always a pleasure!  Adam>

Itsy Bitsy Fanworm (12/21/2003) Hello all! <Greetings, Steve Allen responding tonight.> Was hoping someone might be able to help me with a couple questions.  <I'll give it the Ol' college try.> I just got a new batch of live rock today, and I noticed in a quarter sized depression in one rock that is about an inch deep is a teeny tiny fan type worm. <lucky you!> It is about 1/2 inch long and small in diameter - about 1/16" maybe  The question is how can i keep this lil guy alive? I imagine the food he needs would have to be terribly small - his fan after all is only about 1/8 inch!  Any ideas for me? I read over the FAQs and saw nothing about worms this size. <A toughie here. If your tank is already well-established, there may be enough matter in there for it to survive with adequate circulation. You could try gentle tar] get feeding with a live filter-feeder food. Trouble is, most of what you squirt at such a tiny worm will go past and contribute to the waste in your tank. Whether you want to try this or not is your call.> Another question since I'm already typing- I have 40 watt florescent bulb on my tank. at the moment I can't afford better and was wondering is the lack of light going to harm/be detrimental the stuff growing on my rocks? (like a couple of teeny tiny green/yellow star polyp-looking things and a flat coral/or mushroom thingy that's on one, the coralline algae and the stiff red plants/algae? <If you leave the light on 10-12 hours per day, the coralline will certainly be fine. The mushrooms are not big light-users, so they may be OK. The yellow polyps probably need to be in the upper 1/3 of the tank to thrive. Read about lighting needs on WWM.> Thanks a bunch! <You're welcome.> J Casey PS i never heard back from you all after i sent the pics of my snail-  did you get that message? thanks again! <I could not find that e-mail in any of the in baskets. If you do not receive a reply form someone by Monday morning, I'd suggest you re-send it.>

Question bout tubeworm...... Hi Sir, I'm Seng from Malaysia and I would like to know is it ok to keep 5 tubeworm in a tank with another 6 fish together? <Yes... if there is sufficient room, and the fishes are not types that are given to eat the tubeworms...> I read about one magazine that the tubeworm will provide oxygen to the fish, is it true? <No... these are polychaete worms... that respire, use oxygen rather than produce it> My tank is only 25 gallons, is it too small to keep so many live thing? <Likely so... If the fish selected were very small and not very active you might be able to house this many... What sorts of fishes did you have in mind?> Hope can get your reply as soon as possible, Thanks! Seng <Sama sama, Bob Fenner>

- Shrinking Feather Duster - Hi All, A quick question, of the millions you get and reply, for which we are all better for, thank you in advance.  My feather duster, who is rapidly approaching a year old, is getting smaller, he no longer seems to be as full.  He built a new tube, he never left the old tube, however he forked  back into the piece of rock he has been attached to since we got him. <Interesting.> My main concern, are we feeding him properly? <Let's see...> My tank setup is about 1.5 years old and has very low bio load. I regularly feed 2 tablespoons of DT's about 3 times a week and also add Reef Smorgasbord on the other 3 days of the week with a fasting on Sundays, The inverts are feed twice a week usually Mysis shrimp and some kind of bubble pop type food i.e. bloodworms, or something.  Clean tank, water changes on Sunday with RO water, or distilled if I forget to setup the RO machine. My parameters have been normal and I recently add a refugium, after we noticed his shrinking size.  Any suggestions? <Hmm... sounds to me like you are doing most things correctly. The DT's particle size could be too large for this feather duster... need to blend it down or perhaps try other things. Do read this article, suggestions for feeding there: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feather.htm Cheers, J -- >

Gettin' the Skinny on the Feather Duster >Hi All,      >>Hello. >A quick question, of the millions you get and reply, for which we are all better for, thank you in advance.  My feather duster, who is rapidly approaching a year old, is getting smaller, he no longer seems to be as full.  He built a new tube, he never left the old tube, however he forked  back into the piece of rock he has been attached to since we got him.  My main concern, are we feeding him properly?  my tank setup is about 1.5 years old and has very low bioload. I regularly feed 2 tablespoons of DT's about 3 times a week and also add reef smorgasbord on the other 3 days of the week with a fasting on Sundays.  The inverts are fed twice a week usually Mysis shrimp and some kind of bubble pop type food i.e. bloodworms, or something.   >>Last bit is confusing, "bubble pop" food?  I don't know of many inverts that would feed on these foods, (ESPECIALLY the bloodworms), and I cannot imagine how well, if at all, bloodworms could or would be utilized (via digestion) at all.  I would stop that.  I would TARGET feed the feather duster with the DTs. Clean tank, water changes on Sunday with RO water, or distilled if I forget to setup the RO machine. >>My goodness, I'd really be careful just tossing in distilled OR RO water without first buffering.  But I don't know that this has anything to do with the shrinking duster. >My parameters have been normal and I recently added a refugium, after we noticed his shrinking size.  Any suggestions? >>You'll have to wait a while for the 'fuge to kick in.  In the meantime, target feed him.  Marina

Spontaneous feather duster generation- Hey, I have been noticing tube worms forming on my live rock. They have white calcareous tubes and their "feathers" are a deep red color. The tubes are about 1/4" and they are slightly curled. I have Googled the site but have been unable to find a definitive ID. Any idea what these are? If so, how big could they get? Thanks,
<They are just small feather dusters that seem to reproduce readily under ideal conditions, Enjoy these small magnificent creatures, Good luck, IanB> Steve

Small tank, Large Dusters 10/13/03 Good day all!  As always, all of you rule!!!!!!!!  We are so very lucky in being able to contact each and every one of you regarding any issue we may be having.  Thank you so very much. <quite welcome> Well, first off, I've got a 29 gal- emperor 400 w/bio wheel- CPR dual Bak pak- 30.5 pounds of live Fiji rock from harbor aquatics- 35-36 pounds of live sand by natures ocean- 4 feather dusters- 1 fridmani Pseudochromis- 1 yellow clown goby- 1 Banggai cardinal- 2 peppermint shrimp- one scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp- a bunch of Cerith and Nassarius snails- 2 Astraea snails- assorted hermits (blue legged, scarlet reef, left handed, red tips)       As I LOVE every specimen in my system, I've no problem finding information on anything and everything in my tank here on your site.  Thank goodness!!!!  My issue here is with the feather dusters.  I have read many things about their being fed and cared for properly, and so far so good.  As it's been from the start since I have gotten them.  July 19, 2003.  Although 3 days ago, one did blow his top off!!!!!   This is normal and/or acceptable I know. <it is almost certainly stress induced. And honestly, I do not see how a large Hawaiian feather duster has a prayer of surviving in such a small aquarium. At best, it will take months to slowly starve to death. Your system simply is not big enough to support it (needing bigger aquaria, deeper sand beds and/or refugia). Prepared foods do not adequately sustain these organisms> I want to make sure that they are feeding and/or being fed correctly and what they need to be fed.  Originally, I would just feed them Selcon soaked baby brine shrimp.  Until I think I remember reading on your site that even that may be a bit large for them.   <correct> I will proceed to blend them.....................what I'm getting at is that I've read so many a times about the CLAM JUICE. <may be helpful.. but is still limited nutritively> I have bought Doxsee/Snow's Clam Juice, has no MSG or additives it says.  I am wondering if this will be suffice blended along with the baby brine shrimp enriched with Selcon?  Somehow, I feel horrible horrible adding a "human table food" into my system.......and I certainly don't want to harm anyone nor create an algae bloom or anything of the sorts. Will this brand/type of clam juice be fine to use?????                       Does even this CLAM JUICE have to be blended??????? Will this "supermarket" bought clam juice be bad to add to the tank????? <its all a moot point here... I fear. I just don't see a single large feather duster living to see even 1 year old, let alone 4 large ones on prepared foods. My advice is to send these animals to a larger aquarium (100 gallons plus... and aged over 1 year with a DSB)> I hope to hear back from you soon, as I just want the best for the feather dusters as anyone else would and I'd rather not bug u guys if I was able to find the answer on the site, so thank you for your time. <no worries... I just wish the news was better. Best regards, Anthony>

- X-mas Worms - Any suggestions on how to keep a Christmas Tree rock alive and happy? I add a basic Kent A&B as well as iron and a phytoplankton diet to the tank. Anything else I should include? What about light needs (time wise). Just want to keep them healthy and happy. <Unfortunately, all too often the needs of the Porites (the coral that forms the "rock" that the tube worms live in) is neglected, which slowly dies. Porites is considered a SPS coral, and needs good water flow, high and stable calcium and alkalinity levels, and high light levels (preferably metal halide). The worms derive some health benefit from the Porites (they often die should the Porites die) and will be quite content to live on phytoplankton that you add, as well as naturally occurring microscopic floating goodies. That said, the duration of the lighting should not be taken into account with individual corals, but rather with the whole tank in mind (don't exceed 12 hours, I keep mine at 10 hours). I hope this helps! -Kevin> Thanks

Missing Tube Worm (9-23-03) Hello again, <Howdy, you got Cody today.> I have a question...  well I would start off by telling you have a great site and all, but I bet you get sick of people telling you got a great site I even told you got a great site once, but anyway 2 Days ago I had purchased a Tube worm so I floated him for an hour and arranged him on the rocks 4-5 times to see where he looks best at (poor guy), so I excused him for not coming out. But two days is enough!  So I picked up his tube and realized nothing was in it not even his beautiful burgundy and gold crown.  But I also saw a rip in his tube near the back, but he couldn't take the crown with him could he?  Or did I pay 12 dollars for an empty tube and my specimen is still in the pet shop but there's no way.  Though my dealer did pinch the tube off a little from another one.   Could he be in my substrate making a new tube I wonder?  How would I know if he's making a new one though?  Please write back quickly I trust you all more than my dealer.<These are all possibilities.  He could of "jumped" when you were moving him but I bet he is still at the store.  Next time try to either buy both of them or buy one that is by itself.  You probably wont be able to tell if he is in your tank for a while as he will be buried in the substrate making a new home.  Cody> Thanks a lot,

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