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FAQs about Marine Worms, Vermiform Animals Identification 11

Related FAQs: 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 IDs 9, Worm IDs 10, Worm ID 12, Worm ID 13, Worm ID 14, Worm ID 15, Worm ID 16, Worm ID 17, Worm ID 18, See Also: Flatworm ID 1 +, Nemertean, Proboscis, Ribbon Worm ID 1, Nematode, Roundworm ID 1, Nematomorpha, Horsehair Worm ID 1, Acanthocephalans, Thorny-headed Worm ID 1, Tubeworm/Featherduster ID 1 +, Bristle Worm ID 1 +, Hirudineans, Leech ID 1, Sipunculids, Peanut Worm ID 1, Echiuran Worm ID 1, Invertebrate Identification, Worms 1, Worms 2Worms 3, Flatworms/Planaria, Fire/Bristleworms, FAQs on: Worm Behavior, Worm Compatibility, Worm Selection, Worm Systems, Worm Feeding, Worm Disease, Worm Reproduction,

Related Articles: Worms, Featherduster Worms

Unidentified red/purple worm... bristle...   11/21/07 First off, I would like to thank you all for your vast knowledge. I would not be a successful reef keeper without the help of your site. <A pleasure to share, serve> I have a worm in my live rock that I have not been able to identify through your site or other research as well. It has many white legs like a centipede and the body is red (somewhat bright, not deep red) and purple, only about 1" long. <An apt description for one of many possible species of Errantiate Polychaetes... A bristleworm> The red covers the top first half of the body and the light purple covers the top 2nd half. I haven't seen it doing any harm and was exploring a snail but did not seem to do anything to it. I don't see it often and it comes out in the light, which seems unusual. It's a very nice looking worm and has a dangerous look to it, and doesn't seem to be a fireworm. It seems to be a type of bristle worm, however, does not seem to be nocturnal. Any help in this identification would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Sean T <... Even with a pic this is difficult... could likely narrow down the guess given a close up of the head... number, placement of eyes, palps et al... See the Net re the scientific designation above. Bob Fenner>

Long Clear Thin Worms on Rock... On top of Spaghetti (Worms) All Covered With Cheese...  11/9/07 Hey guys! <Hi Jane, Mich here.> I have recently added a new piece of very live rock into my tank about 2 weeks ago. While the moon light was on last night, I noticed there were 4-5 long (4 inches, and can stretch) very thin, clear worms of some sort coming out of a hole in my new piece of rock. They resemble fishing line and can stretch to long lengths. They are a solid clear color with no obvious head I can see. Are these harmful to my tank? <Nope!> Should I try to eradicate them, <Nope!> they are on the bottom of the rock, in a hard to reach area. <Leave it be. Sounds like a Spaghetti worm (Terebellidae sp.) to me. They are harmless scavengers feeding on particulate organic material and detritus. More here: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-06/rs/index.php > Thanks for your help! <Welcome! Mich> Jane

Worms!!! Help!!! 10/27/07 Hello, I'm having a huge problem with a tube worm "tubiculous polychaete"? <That's actually not an animal name. It's an adjective put before a descriptive noun. Basically, it's just a fancy way of saying "tube worm."> It started out as two that where in my tank for a couple years. They were really cool at first, never multiplied or disturbed anything, just cast a silk line out every now and then and would reel in various things that floated by.? <They sound like Vermetid snails. They're actually not worms. Please see here: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2005-01/rs/index.php> Suddenly, after all this time, they have started multiplying exponentially. I've literally got hundred of them and there silk is bothering corals and making the tank look nasty. <They're probably not bothering the corals, but they can be aesthetically unpleasing.> To top it off, the tubes they make are sharp and I've cut myself several times on them. Do these things have any natural predators that I can put in the tank, or is there some other way to get rid of them? <I don't think they have any predators you could keep in an aquarium. But these things usually go through booms and busts. They'll likely start to die down eventually on their own. There are some desperate measures you could take (involving things like NaOH), but if I were you, I'd just make my peace with them for now and hope they go away eventually.> Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for all the great info! Will <De nada, Sara M.>

Worm Identification?  -- 10/04/07 Sorry for the blurry pics, but I was hoping you might get enough to help me figure out if this is a good or bad worm. He only comes out at night and the minute my flash goes off he is sucked up back in his hole. The worm appears to be brown with white stripes. I would have to guess it is more than 8 inches long, just how long I have no idea. When it is extending, it appears to be coming out of itself. The head part looks sort of like a short thick white feather duster when it comes out but it almost immediately goes back into itself and repeats this action over and over. It always comes out of the same hole every night, never ventures. Thanks for all of your help! Bellinda <Does it look like a Sipunculid to you: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pnutwrmidfaqs.htm BobF>

Re: Worm Identification? 10/5/07 <Hi Bellinda, Lynn here this time! Bob's off diving - lucky fellow!> Thank you so much for your quick response. <On behalf of Bob, you're very welcome.> I have never seen it when it is not stretched out so it is hard to tell. It stays in a hole in the rock all of the time and only comes out at night. <Typical of Sipunculids/Peanut Worms. I love these little guys. They remind me of elephant trunks, the way they appear to snuffle around looking for food - and wow, do they not like it when you shine a flashlight on them! It's amazing how quickly they can retract back into their little abodes (not that I blame them!). They vary in color from shades of gray, brown, black, or white - some with bands of those same colors, some without.> However, I do believe that is what it is. I'm assuming from what I read that it is safe to leave this worm in my aquarium. <Absolutely. Sipunculids/peanut worms are harmless, beneficial, little detritivores, and a joy to have/watch!> Thanks Again, <You're most welcome! -Lynn>

Worm ID please... Spaghetti Worm (Terebellidae spp.)   9/28/07 Hi Guys... <Hi Jo, Mich here apologizing for the delay.> I found another hitcher the other night...its the first time I've seen him so I quickly snapped the pic before the lions, who were circling, grabbed him up...He got tangled in my Elegance Coral, and after tugging for a good 5 min.s, finally broke free and retreated back into the smallest hole in the live rock...fully stretched he measured around 50cm and was flat, but as he retreated, he took on a round shape a inched himself backwards slowly...he is red and white striped any only about 2mm in diameter...again, I've not had any luck searching the web... <I believe this is a spaghetti worm (Terebellidae spp.) My crew mate Brenda found this image: http://www.poppe-images.com/images/image_info.php?picid=912498 > Cheers and Thanks... <Kind regards and welcome! Mich>

Worm ID/Control...No Photo, Can Only Speculate -- 08/30/07 I have been looking for the kind of tube worm I have. It is not a feather duster. It is a white circle with hair around the circle. It is taking over my tank. It is on every rock and on the glass etc. <<I can't really say what these might be without a good close-up photo. These could be a small Sabellid worm species...or something more ominous like Hydroids or Anemonia majano. Suggest you do a keyword search on both and see what you think>> How can I get rid of it. <<The Sabellids will likely cycle out in time...but if these are Hydroids or Anemonia majano they can be more problematic. For these you might consider some of the solutions discussed here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i3/aiptasia_impressions/aiptaisia_impressions.htm But 'identification' is your first step>> The store I use suggested I put a wrasse in the tank. <<You might try taking a rock with these 'worms' on it to your LFS and see if they can provide a positive ID>> I have a 24 gal. nano tank and I have a Fiji blue and its buddy a clown fish. <<Mmm...this 'Blue Devil' damsel and the clownfish will make it difficult to add more fishes in this small volume>> I put the wrasse in and saved its life by taking it out. <<Indeed...>> My tank does not look like a fish tank it is full of the worms and that's all you see. Is there some other way I can get rid of them? <<Make sure your filtration/water quality is up to par and be diligent about not overfeeding>> Thanks I will pad your coffer. <<Cool!>> It's great to have a place to ask a question. <<Indeed, but I can only speculate at this point without a photograph of the organism. As stated earlier, do some keyword searches on the NET re the names I gave you...once you make an ID you can search our site re 'controls' for the identified organism>> Thanks, Pat Zahner <<Regards, EricR>>

Worm ID'¦ Sipunculid   8/22/07 Thank you for your time, <Welcome, Mich here.> I've been visiting your site for a few years and I absolutely love it, <Nice to hear!> but this is my first question. As a background, I decided to try a 10g tank since I had to leave my 150g and 55g at my parent's house because of the frequency of me moving. I got some sand and rocks from the 150g and started it. It did ok for a while and put in 5-6 hermit crabs and two snails. I realized though that one cannot maintain a tank when it evaporates 10-15% of its volume a day so I took out the snails and crabs and started to take out the rocks when I found a worm hanging out of the bottom of one of them. It looked very cool so I figured I could try and keep it alive. I positioned the rock so I could see it better but it disappeared after a couple days and I couldn't find, and thought it had died. I kept doing top-offs and the powerhead and lights just to see, but after a couple weeks I again decided to break down the tank. I stopped topping off and the volume cut in half. All of a sudden the worm reappeared in the same hole in the rock, slowly extending itself, possibly probing the sand. This thing had lived through very bad water quality to this point. It could retract similar to an earthworm but had more of a nub at the end resembling a mouth to my guess. I didn't have any ro water or supplies since I was breaking the tank down and sadly had to watch the little guy die over a couple days, not having any time to take it to my parents or knowledge of its good or badness. <Was a good one.> The constricted black ring formed right before he died. I pulled him out and inspected. The front end, left side of the ruler picture, was light blue with small specks and the back end, second picture, was white with black spots, which I found are tiny barbs. The back end was pretty deep in the rock and almost anchored in. Sorry this is so long, but even with the Internet I couldn't convince myself what it was and I find it very fascinating. <From your description and images I am fairly certain this was a Peanut worm (Sipunculid spp.). Sipunculids are beneficial detritus feeders. You can see some similar images here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pnutwrmidfaqs.htm Thanks a lot, <Welcome! Mich> Adam p.s. I have a larger version of the ruler shot, about 600kbs that shows some better detail including some internal organs if you're interested. <Sure! Please send along, will be posted.>

Id help: Epitoke - 8/14/07 Hey everyone, <Hey Noah> I'll start with the required (but well deserved of course) Wow your site is awesome, I love it. <Thanks!> Anyway, just recently I found this odd little thing in my tank (pictures included). The white part is the head, and it does seem to have visible eyes, mouth, etc. It behaves very oddly. It will swim like an eel to the top of my tank, sit there trying to get its head out of the water (at least that's what it looks like), then suddenly stop moving and sink to the bottom of the tank. It does this entire cycle maybe once every 5 minutes. Any help would be greatly appreciated. <Well Noah, what you've got there is an epitoke, sometimes called a 'swarmer'. It's a reproductive form of an errant polychaete worm (sorry - can't quite see enough to give a better Id). There are several different ways these worms reproduce. In this case, the back half develops into a segment filled with gametes (eggs or sperm). When the time is right (usually a phase of the lunar cycle), the worm emerges and the posterior section breaks away. That section then swims up into the water column, and releases its gametes in a mass spawning event. The head/anterior section returns to the bottom and regenerates. By the way, with only one of these present in your tank, you don't have to worry about an imminent plague of polychaetes! For more information, please Google the terms 'epitoke' or 'epitoky'. Also, here are a couple of photos of one I had in my tank for comparison. It had a very similar looking segmented posterior section and is in the Family Nereididae. Size-wise, it was a little over 4.5' long. http://wetwebfotos.com/usermedia/high/0/2470_44.jpg http://wetwebfotos.com/usermedia/high/0/2470_46.jpg > Thank you very much, Noah <You're very welcome! -Lynn>

Re: Id help: Epitoke - 8/14/07 Thanks again! <Anytime, Noah! It's pretty strange to see something like that swimming around in your tank, isn't it (but pretty neat too!). <lol> I hate to admit it, but that one I photographed initially scared the living daylights out of me. I'd just woken up, the lights were still off in the tank, and I went in for a close look to check things out. Evidently, the worm had been floating/resting up at the surface, and suddenly decided to zoom by, right in front of me. I jumped back about a foot and let out the most embarrassingly girly shriek ever. I laugh about it now, but at the time'¦yikes! The lesson I learned was to avoid going in for those close-ups first thing in the morning! I figure it spares me, as well as the creatures living in my tank! <g> Anyway, it was a pleasure helping you, and please let us know if there's anything else we can do for you. --Lynn>

Re: Worm Identification, Follow-up - 8/17/07 Thanks again crew! <You're very welcome!> Sadly, the little guy was sucked into a powerhead last night.:( <Aw, I'm sorry to hear that. Thank you for sharing the photos and experience with us, though. By the way, here are several good links for future reference re: polychaete Id: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-03/rs/index.php, and: http://home2.pacific.net.ph/~sweetyummy42/hitchworms.html. Good luck, and thanks for keeping in touch. -- Lynn>

Re: Identification? Worm  8/15/07 Ill try to find it and get it out of tank, should be able to get a close-up of it then! <Real good>

Re: Identification? 8/16/07 Ok, so i got it and looked at it under a microscope. It has 8 legs (or whatever the proper term is) on each side of the forward half of the body. It has two dark lines going from head to tail, and a visible blood vessel (or something of the sort) that has a visible pulse. It is about 3 mm wide at the front half, and 4-5 on the back. It is about 14 mm long. Some more pictures are included, hopefully they will be better. Noah <Ahh, thank you for these. I do agree with Lynn that this is very likely an epitoke... a "reproductive unit" of a polychaete... Very common in the world's oceans... and not a worry. Bob Fenner>


Worm That I Can't Identify and Is This Worm Bad For My Tank?   8/8/07 Hi, <Hello Ed, Mich here.> I purchased live rock a few days ago to add to my tank. I currently have a Blue tang, two fire shrimp, two Percula clowns, a Firefish goby, three Blue Hermit crabs, and a starfish that I cannot remember the name of right now. <Sea stars do seldom fair well in captivity. I would discourage you from any future purchases. Brittle stars generally do much better and can be a beneficial addition to your tank.> My parents have a 55 gallon back at home in Florida. They only have one Yellow tang in the tank at the moment, and have had it for a few years now. <This tank is too small for a Zebrasoma flavescens. Should be in a 75 gallon tank at a minimum.> They had told me that a hitchhiking worm had grown to a large size and was prey to the tang. I have recently purchased some live Fiji rock and have noticed that a hitchhiking worm was present in the rock. The pictures are below, is this a worm that I should be fearful of? <Let's put it this way... I would not name him George or hug him or pet him or squeeze him... Is definitely an errant polychaete worm, hard to tell much beyond that. Most are harmless scavengers but a few can cause problems. Is hard to get a perspective as to size. But generally, bigger is badder! So if this guy is bigger than you basic earth worm it may be time for manual extraction.> I do not want to lose any of my livestock over this. What can I do to remove it? <Manual removal is often the most successful. If the head is removed it is unlikely to regenerate.> Is there an invertebrate or a fish that I can add to the tank for removal of this worm? <There are natural predators but I can't think of any suitable for a home aquarium.> Thanks in advance! <Welcome! Mich>

Re: Worm that I can't identify and is this worm bad for my tank? Yep!   8/12/07 Hey Mich, <Hi Ed!> Thanks again for the reply. <Welcome!> The worm is about 6-8 inches long and about half inch wide. <Yipe! Yipe! Yipe! Get rid'a that bad boy!> I was asking about the Peppermint and Cleaner shrimp since I am looking at alternatives to Pseudochromis and Arrow Crabs. I am trying to find something that will live in harmony with my inhabitants but will "take care" of my worms, in the deadly sense! <Heeheee! I understand why. I think manual removal will likely be the easiest method here, with a pair of forceps or thongs not with your fingers of course!> Ed
<Good luck, Mich>

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