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FAQs about Marine Worms, Vermiform Animals Identification 1

Related FAQs: 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 11, 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, & FAQs on: Worm Behavior, Worm Compatibility, Worm Selection, Worm Systems, Worm Feeding, Worm Disease, Worm Reproduction, & Polychaete Identification, Invertebrate Identification, Worms 1, Worms 2Worms 3, Flatworms/Planaria, Fire/Bristleworms

Related Articles: Worms, Featherduster Worms

A worm in a tube Hi guys- <Malcolm> I haven't written in a while, but since you guys are the best at ID I know of.. The critter in the middle of the picture seems to be a worm of some sort that lives in a tube attached to a rock.  The tube is about 1.5-2" long.  It first appeared as a small coiled shape then gradually grew to its present shape.  It feeds by sending a sort of web (mucus?) into the current to catch particles floating by.  It is alert to feeding time, especially when frozen food is offered.  I think it's about 6 months old. What is it? <A tubiculous polychaete... good pic, description> What can I do to make it happy? [125g, 30g eco-sys style sump with AquaC Urchin skimmer, 390 watts of compact fluorescents -- tang, goby, Dottyback, 2 Perculas, 6 line wrasse, 5 Chromis , two shrimp, various polyps, 2 anemones, two Sarcophyton, three Fungia, various conchs, abalone, hermits and snails - good ph, 77 degrees, 1.024 salinity, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 4 mg/L nitrates - tank is a year and a half old] Thanks as always. Malcolm Young <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/feather.htm and the linked files, above, in blue, where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>

Bob- question on your id post - 07/02/08 Saw this post on my local club board.... thought I'd just ask you... http://www.utahreefs.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=26723 Thanks Adam <Thanks for this Adam... might well be a Vermetid/Snail... BobF>

- Worm ID - Hi.  Are you guys able to identify this thing in my tank, which I think is some kind of worm. <Beyond agreeing with you that it is some type of worm, the picture is just too blurry to say much more than that.> It lives in a crack in a rock and can extend the arm like thing in the photo about 8 inches and uses it to pick over rocks.  Thanks, Matt <Cheers, J -- > 

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>

Funny creature... Flatworm eating copepods 9/1/03 Crew. I have had two of these little things making rounds on my glass.. its fun to watch them.. they almost look like some sort of jelly fish, appears they maybe are feeding on diatoms? <actually a flatworm/Planaria feeding on copepods... quite harmless> I was wondering if you might be able to help me identify it? They shrink and expand their bodies to move around. I don't think it would cause any trouble, but any information is appreciated. Thanks! See image here: http://www.johnslife.com/images/squidly.jpg   Thanks again! John <they wax and wane with the copepod population. Anthony>

Hitchhiker/Worm ID: Sipunculid... AKA Peanut Worm, rest easy 8/25/03 I found this worm(?) in my tank this morning.  Any ID help would be greatly appreciated.   It is a Sipunculid... AKA peanut worm... delightfully useful and harmless detritivores> Is this a good or bad thing? <do enjoy> I am attaching the picture. Rich <best regards, Anthony>

Identification of worm - 8/17/03 I found this worm-like creature crawling on my leg while I was doing dishes.  Can you please help me identify it? <hmmm... nope, but it does remind me of how humid FL is and how I dread the bugs there <G>> Thanks Michelle Robertson Florida <an underwater pic would be easier for the ID. to see the setae, if any, and the appendages. Best regards... wear thick stockings. Anthony>

Worm ID - 08/12/03 <Hi John, PF answering your message today> Hello there, Great site you have here.... and greetings from Finland..  One question, I find last weekend bright red thing in my tanks coral bottom, it was inside the coral sand and all around it the coral sand was black ( like  carbon), and in the other end of that worm it has a lot of  long thin tentacles. I leave the worm alone and it bury it self inside the coral sand only the tentacles are over the sand and are moving all over. the worm is about 2cm long and the tentacles much more.  So any ideas what can that be ?? <Go here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaetes.htm and about half way down the page is a picture of a spaghetti worm. They come in a number of colors including red, white, and orange. Is this what you saw? If so, it a beneficial scavenger, and will hopefully reproduce in your tank. Have a good one, PF> Thank you and Best Regards,

Hitch hiker ID Please? Folks, <Howdy> The attached picture is of a "creature" that I found in my new 75 gallon reef tank. <No file attached> The tank is cycling with live rock only at this time.  There are a few smallish crabs and snails and whatnot that came in on the live rock; no harm done.  However, I found this "thing" crawling around on the DSB yesterday.  It moves like an inchworm, attaching to surfaces with its mouth and pulling itself into a bell curve before attaching with its tail and so on.  The scary thing is that the oral opening looks A LOT like a lamprey.  Unlike lamprey, it has a suction cup like tail as well. <Ah ha! (imagine best Sherlock Holmes impression). Does sound like a leech> I've posted on many boards and everyone seems stumped.  I was wondering if you could help.  I do have SOME time as the tank is cycling.  However, I don't want to lose track of it, or "let it be" if it is harmful.   <I'd remove this animal> I'd sure be upset if I found it one day attached to and sucking the life out of my clowns or Dottyback!  Thank you in advance, David PS.  I've read the Reef Invert book from cover to cover and am on round two.  It's a great resource and is extremely entertaining in that "Fenner, Calfo, WWM" way. <Mmm, sometimes predictability is fine. Bob Fenner>

Re: Hitch hiker ID Please? Boy it's been a long week ;)  Sorry.  Picture is now attached. <D> <Much more definitely a leech. Again, I'd give it the heave-ho. All Hirudineans are parasitic... Bob Fenner>

Worm ID: Eurythoe Fireworms... Yikes! 7/8/03 Alrighty, here are a couple of pictures: <thanks for the follow-up. Your worm unfortunately is a Eurythoe fireworm. Indeed predatory and even slight risk to you (painful setae/bristles) can be shed/shot into your skin. Do use the name provided to browse our website and the Web for more on the subject. We also chat about these critters versus the harmless bristleworms at length in our new book on Reef Invertebrates (P. 172): https://secure.wetwebmedia.com/order_form.jsp  for signed copies of the book  http://wetwebfotos.com/store/nma-ri.html  best regards! Anthony>

Peanut worm? I found this worm in the intake of a powerhead that was running an undergravel filter in my marine aquarium. It is about 4 inches long and brown in color, looks similar to earthworm but not glossy instead it appears to have a rougher texture, maybe even hairs on it, a leathery appearance. I looked at the pictures of the peanut worm on Shimek's site, it looks very similar but is a much darker brown, is it likely the same type of worm?  <It is indeed... a Peanut Worm... A Sipunculid> I took this one out because I didn't know what it was and it startled me, plus when I pulled it out it tore in two pieces. In the future if I find more should I leave it in the tank and where, just put in the sand or on the live rock?  <Interesting animals, completely harmless... I'd leave it/them in place> Is it beneficial at all to the tank or harmful? Thank you very much. Kylee Peterson <Put the terms, "Peanut Worm" or "Sipunculid" in your search engines. Bob Fenner>

Possible Sea Snake in Reef Tank Hi Bob, <Howdy> I wouldn't bother you if it weren't important to determine whether or not I have a sea snake in my reef tank.  I had to tear down and move my 72-gallon bow front for a new carpet installation, and in the process came across what I believe but hope isn't a sea snake protruding from a rock.  I've attached 3 digital pictures I took so you can get a look.  You probably can't see it well in the pictures, but on the "head" end, there are white diamond-shaped markings all the way around.  I have to tear this tank down again in a couple days after the carpet is installed and return it to its permanent location, and needless to say, I'm a bit "tank shy" after encountering this critter.  It didn't come completely out of the rock, but as you can see in the pictures, it's well over a foot long without coming all the way out.  Also, when it was "standing," the neck appeared to widen and "flatten out" as would a Cobra or some type of snake that stands like that. <Neat... you appear to be the not-so-proud owner of a Ribbonworm (Phylum Nemertea). Not to worry re... it will not harm you or your livestock. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/worms.htm> Your prompt (or even better - immediate!) response would be greatly appreciated.  I hope to learn this is some harmless animal that does not need to be removed. <I would do my best to not disturb the system too much in moving... drain the water out, move tank, put the water back in. This animals presence is tribute to your good husbandry. Bob Fenner> Peggy

Snake in Reef?! Bob, <Peg> Many thanks for your very prompt response to my e-mail regarding the snake-like critter in my system.  This is one worm I surely was not familiar with, and am I ever glad he's a worm and nothing worse!!  Now I won't have the fear of God in me when I tear down again to return the tank to the living room.  I also thank you for the compliment regarding husbandry.  I live for all my gifts from the sea! <Ahh, a gracious statement> Thanks again, <Glad to share. Bob Fenner> Peggy

Re: Possible Sea Snake in Reef Tank Hi Bob, <Hello Peggy, good morrow> Many thanks for your prompt response.  I'm happy to know this beautiful animal is harmless and also that my husbandry has contributed to its well-being.  They surely have the appearance of a snake when they stand! I don't look forward to tearing down yet again to move the tank back to the living room, but one must do what one must do.  That will be its last move for a very long time! <Do enjoy the process. Bob Fenner> Thanks again. Peggy

Peanut worm? Hello - I have been noticing a weird creature in my 55g reef tank when the lights are off.  It is like a worm that is attached at one end to the bottom of a piece of live rock.  It can be up to a few inches long and 1/2 cm wide, and can quickly retract when I shine light on it.  You can see it in the photo, above and to the left of the molt of the blue-legged crab.  Any idea what this thing is? Thanks for your help. <its very difficult to say from the quality of the image. Grossly by sight and behavior it sounds like a peanut worm. These are delightfully harmless detritivores/scavengers. Completely reef safe. Best regards, Anthony>

Peanut Worm Creature ID Thank you for your help, Anthony.  After reading about this peanut worm on the web and seeing some pictures/diagrams, I am sure you are correct in your guess. You guys provide a great service to the aquarium community.  I'm a big fan! Best Regards, Andre <best regards, my friend. Anthony>

Serpulid Worms and Vermetid snails: Calcareous "Tubeworms" I have millions of the pinhead sized worms in my 55 gal. tank.  Are they good or bad.  Is there anything I need to do to control them? <they are not bad (actually quite good filter feeders)... but their presence in numbers indicates high dissolved organics and food otherwise to support them. They could be symptomatic of poor water quality or an impending problem. May not be a problem either. Just consider your nutrient export options. Are you doing weekly/monthly water changes? Weekly or monthly carbon? Does your skimmer give you a full cup of dark skimmate several times weekly if not daily? Id the answer is no to most of these questions, the nutrients will continue to accumulate can be dangerous in time> Thanks for your help.  I am new to marine aquariums and have been greatly impressed by your website and information. Thanks Michael <good to hear, my friend. I wish you the very best. Anthony>

Re: Calcareous Tubeworms I have millions of the pinhead sized worms in my 55 gal. tank.  Are they good or bad.  Is there anything I need to do to control them?   Thanks for your help.  I am new to marine aquariums and have been greatly impressed by your website and information. <Oh, good. Then please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bristlewrmfaqs.htm and the FAQs beyond. Bob Fenner> Thanks Michael

Re: "mystery worms": friend or foe I spotted three worms on my live rock tonight. I struck out on various web searches to attempt to identify them. They are thin (a little smaller diameter than a human hair), long (one is about 1" long, two others appear to be at least 2" or longer) wiggly creatures. I can't tell any difference between their tail and head. They look like they are red & white striped (or dark/light striated) and are pretty active wiggling around and burrowing a little into the algae on the rock. Can you help me identify these? I might be able to suction them out if they are a parasite of some kind. If not, then I won't worry and hope they'll make great fish food! <Much more likely friends than foes. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bristlewrmfaqs.htm and the other FAQs files beyond (linked, in blue, at top). Bob Fenner>

"Mystery worms": friend or foe Thanks for the reply. I did check out the material on your site that you recommended before contacting you. I also tried a few other sites (like Ron Shimek's) to attempt to key these little guys out with no luck. I could get a better idea of what they are if I take one out & check it out under the microscope at work. I didn't want to kill one if they were harmless though. <Good for you> I'll wait until they get bigger and maybe I'll be able to see some structures, mouthparts and such, that would help me identify them. So far everyone in the tank has left them alone (a blenny, 2 damsels, 2 clowns, 3 red-legged hermit crabs & 10 blue-legged). <They're far likely than not to be innocuous. Bob Fenner>

Re: "mystery worms": friend or foe Thanks for the reply and all the advice you post on your site. It's nice to have a good resource for information for those of us new to this hobby. <Glad you find it of use> Last night I found one of my blue-leg crabs out of it's shell dead. It was on the rock that the mystery worms hang out on and one of the worms was intertwined with it, probably munching. The only thing that doesn't fit is the crab's shell was no where to be found. Maybe he was pulled from shell by another crab and floated to the spot where I found him with the worms. I won't assume the worms are guilty yet, I'll watch them worms pretty closely. <This is best. Bob Fenner>

Worms, snails and the like: ID Good morning, or still late evening for you on the West coast! <cheers!> My tank may have been taken hostage by some type of a worms that construct hard tube like shell protruding off of my liverock.   <commonly a Vermetid snail (sessile) or Serpulid worm> They don't seem to bother anything and are probably beneficial but they're not leaving me much real estate!   <understood and agreed. Their presence is a sign of high dissolved organics (adequate food to filter feed). Limit this food in the tank and you will limit their growth. Such tanks often lack substantial water changes (25% monthly or better... weekly 10-25%) or good protein skimming (dark daily skimmate)> My Tonga rock has taken on the appearance of a briar patch, with little "thorns" sticking out all over.  Had to remove my Christmas tree rock and not a few off as they were blocking the Christmas trees from coming out.   <wow> Not so concerned that they will damage anything, just want to keep them in check, <understood and agreed. No worries... nutrient control> is there anything that eats them??   <nothing that won't eat your Christmas tree worms too> No corals in this tank so not too concerned about a "reef safe" cure. Also noticed today that one little rogue starfish that has been in the tank for months has now turned into 5.  I believe it to be of the six ray type, no larger than a dime, blue green with small red dot in the center.  Friend or foe?? <dubiously reef safe, can reproduce to plague proportions... also a sign of overfeeding or otherwise high organics in the system. The presence of these types of pest animals indicates that you may be in line for a scary algae bloom or pH crash if left unchecked. Do consider if there is a nutrient export limitation in your system (lack of skimming, water changes, carbon use, etc)> One last thing, I have heard it is uncommon for snails to reproduce in marine aquaria, <true until recently with the popularity of live rock, live sand and refugiums> but have recently, by accident no doubt, somehow managed to come up with literally hundreds of 2 different types of little snails, one is more round with a brown and white shell, the other conical and white.  Both appear to be eating algae and / or detritus, local shop says they'll take some for store credit if they aren't predators.  Any thoughts on ID? <a picture would be necessary here... but do reference the shape of Cerith species (ignore color) for starters. They are likely to be quite safe and desirable> Thanks once again for a great service! Doug Edwardsville, IL <best regards, Anthony>

Spiral "thingies" While cleaning my marine tank yesterday, I noticed a bunch (25-30) of small (about the size of a pencil or pen head), white, spiral thingies (for lack of a better word) on the glass. I was able to scrape them off using only my fingernail, I was just wondering if you guys had any idea what they are. They felt almost like a rock, but not as hard. Thanks for your time. <Very likely some small species of tube-dwelling "bristleworm" (Sedentariate polychaete annelid). No problem. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaetes.htm at the bottom, family Serpulidae. Bob Fenner>

- What is It? - <Greetings, JasonC here...> It appears that some sort of flat worm has just given birth to a large number of babies in my salt water tank.  The babies are white with flattish bodies and a star looking nose.  They are crawling all over the glass and coral now.  Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated. <Well, by your description it is very hard to say exactly what these are. I would say though that unless they are actually causing damage, I wouldn't worry about it. These 'critter' populations have a way of leveling themselves out.> Thanks Dan <Cheers, J -- >

Worm Identification? Please help!  I was hoping you could help identify these worm like creatures in my 55 gal tank. The live rock I have in there has been in there for about 5-6 weeks. I so far noticed 3 of them. (I'm sure there might be more)2 of them seem to hide under the rock  in the sand, and one seems to live in a very small hole in a rock  up away from the sand bed. One seems all white in color and the other two seem to be black and white. Their movements remind me of  a elephants trunk. They can stretch themselves out very thin. And when they reach their limit of stretching it almost looks like they have  little white tentacles at  the very end. When they retract they seem to retract into themselves. I  have read on the web site that most worms are not bad unless you are overwhelmed with them. I plan on adding corals to this tank and just wanted to make sure these worms  are not on the FBI 10 most wanted list....... <A common finding and generally not a problem. See here for more http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bristlewrmfaqs.htm> Thank you <Hope this helps, Don> for your time...Bruce

Worm ID - 4/21/03 Hi, <Good afternoon. Paul here> I was hoping you could help me out with the identification of a worm found in my live rock. <Well, I will do my best>  Unfortunately it's so quick and never hangs itself out on the rock for a sufficiently long time for me to take a picture for you to identify it more easily. <There are a great many sites with picture references of various oceanic worms on them. Maybe you could search using Google and the word "polychaete" and see if you can't find a picture that matches?> The creature is about 1.5 inch long, reddish brown, and its body is very similar to a silkworm.  Its head looks like that of a shrimp, without the long tentacles though. When it bites off food from the rock, it makes a very loud clicking sound. <Well, I am not too sure from that description, but may be a bristleworm? Try here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaetes.htm or here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/worms.htm Is the worm harmful to my tank which is 100G in size with 8 small to medium size fishes - tang, angels, damsel fish, long noise butterfly, clown and a number of cleaner shrimps? <Likely not, but you never know. I cannot give you a definitive answer a without positive ID>  There are some soft corals as well. <Let me know what you find. Paul out> Regards

Awwww.....nuts! Peanut (worms) that is 4/19/03 [AKA... "Excuse me, Miss... but there's a Sipunculid in my soup."] Hey, Thanks for the reply.  I took your advice and looked at tons of pics and descriptions of how different worms act, and I am pretty sure it is some type of peanut worm. <Ahhh... very cool. A Sipunculid> He hangs from his hole in the base of the rock and retracts into himself with lightning speed when you shine a flash light on him. If this is a peanut worm then most of what I read is that they are beneficial and should be left in the tank. Do you agree with this conclusion? <very much agreed... good sleuthing> Thanks again for your time, Shawn <always welcome, my friend. And do peep a pic of an exposed worm, attached here... quite fascinating. Anthony>

Worm ID 4/15/03 Hi Guys, <cheers> I was wondering if you could possibly give me a hand on a new worm I found in my tank. I don't have a picture so I know you prolly can't tell me but I thought I would give it a shot. <indeed... almost impossible for the staggering number of possibilities> It is hanging around the base of my green button polyps. It's about 1" in length and is about as wide as a toothpick. It's body is white with a black stripe that runs down the center of it's back. It looks like it's mouth is scraping at the base of the polyps but it doesn't look like it is hurting them. <it could be rasping mucus... but is just as likely to be or ultimately be predatory. Do remove to a sump or QT tank to be safe> Do you think he is ok, or should I try and remove him as I don't want him hurting any of my inhabitants. If so how do I go about getting him off of the polyps? <siphoning off works well> I'm pretty sure I can take the polyps out and he will still be on them since he hasn't wandered off of them yet. As always your words of wisdom will be much appreciated. Thanks and keep up the great work with the site. Shawn <Do browse pics abroad on the 'Net depicting various scale worms, polychaetes, etc for a possible ID. Best regards, Anthony>

<Tiny Worms> I have some white tiny worm like creatures all over my live rock, they resemble white hair on the rock work and sometimes on the glass. Are they parasitic and how do I get rid of them. I heard a six line wrasse? Thanks <Well, there are tons of little animals that come in on live rock, many (in fact, most) of which are perfectly harmless. Hard to say exactly what these may be, but it sounds like they are some kind of Bryozoans or Ectoprocts, or even a "peanut worm", all of which are harmless. Just keep observing the aquarium closely, stay on top of maintenance, and be sure to let us know if these animals get out of hand. Arm yourself with a good book, like Sprung and Delbeek's "The Reef Aquarium", which has descriptions and drawings of lots of "diversity animals" that can appear from live rock. Hang in there! Regards, Scott F>

Re: unidentified worm Hello I am trying to identify this new creature that has grown from my live rock. I am attaching a picture of this worm. It is white and maybe 2 mm long and has what appears to be two white antennae that move out into the water column from his hard white calcium tube. He also has a long string that comes from him and the tube that waves into the water column almost reaching the surface. When I sweep this string and remove it just comes back. Any idea of what this is? Is it a hard tube worm? Thanks for your help on this. Bill B <Wowzah, looks like the very rare Casper the Ghost Worm! Please see here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/worms.htm Bob Fenner>

Unidentified Creature After some research (your book, WetWebMedia, FFExpress FAQ), I'm stumped. I'll preface my question by explaining that I received a shipment from FFExpress yesterday. Included in the box was a medium-sized button polyp covered rock. So, with that said, here's the deal: when I turned on the lights in my aquarium this morning, there was this goofy looking "worm" that was "hanging" off of the side of one of the rocks with about ten extremely thin tentacles positioned into the substrate. It looked like a greenish/brownish worm (about 1" to 1 1/2") draped in many moveable tassels (the tassels seemed about two times the length of the "worm"). Immediately after the lights were on, it S-L-O-W-L-Y started pulling the "tentacles" out of the sand and began crawling back under one of the rocks (it was free-roaming; not attached to anything). Have you any idea what this might be? (Very likely one of many Errantiate (as in to err is human) polychaete... which hobbyists tend to lump as various types of bristleworms... I sorted and identified these for a couple of years as a graduate student... there are many...) I almost siphoned it out, but I remember you saying that you tend to leave things alone unless it's proven that the animal is detrimental. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. (Read over the general Worm section on our www.WetWebMedia.com site and maybe take a read through some of the reference works listed there in its bibliography... Will have to post more pix of the large assemblage... and read the most recent-third volume of The Modern Coral Reef Aquarium... many sections on various worm groups there. Bob Fenner) -Sam Sundberg

Worm ID Hey Bob, <Anthony Calfo in your service... Bob is preoccupied trying to figure out how he can draw air and beer through his regulators on his impending Australian dive trip> Appreciate your help in the past. Our live rock arrived in Alaska from Missouri with a broken case and ice cold. Two months later, tank never cycled and rock is growing fine. Weird huh? < a testimony to the resiliency of products of the sea> My wife found this little guy cruising around in the tank this morning. What the heck is it, and should I do anything?  <harmless worm species indeed... many unidentified species (a wide open field in taxonomy> It's about 1 1/2 inches long and moves faster than I thought it could without legs. When it hit the current from my pumps it freaked out. <very squiggly... I've seen them too. No worries... there are very few nuisance worms. Most are neutral or beneficial> Come up and try the salmon fishing. <I personally would be a most bizarre fishing companion... raw salmon is one of my favorite niger sushi fares <G>> Chuck in Soldotna <Anthony Calfo lost in my own mind>

What Could This Be? <<JasonC here, Bob is off on a diving junket.>> I was looking in my 30 g reef tank last night and noticed a miniature volcano" erupting in the sand. It spewed sand like it was being regurgitated. I crawled under the tank with a light and noticed two verrry long, string thin worm-type things. What are these, and could they be causing the sand to erupt? They look unendingly long, clear as glass except for a red stripe, and they appear to be full of sand!! Help! I'm scared!!!! <<I wouldn't be concerned unless the volcano began filling your living room with hot lava. What you've got there sounds a lot like a beneficial bristle worm. These are good neighbors. For specific ID, try this link: http://www.tcnj.edu/~maughme2/faq.htm  Cheers, J -- >>

Worm like creature Just a quick question, the other night I noticed the strangest thing in my tank. It appeared at night with the lights off, I had my flashlight going through looking for new crabs and such when this long thing, maybe 5 inches in length and no thicker than a ball point pen ink cartridge, squirmed back into a hole. I waited for it to return and it did, many times. This worm like creature kind of resembles the leg of a banded Starfish, but it almost looks like it collapses into it's self when scared? Any help on identifying this thing would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Blane  <marine worms encompass a larger and more described group of animals than most any other on the planet. In aquariology, they are rarely harmful and usually helpful. Do research pictures of bristleworms and Fireworms (with the latter really only being a minor concern)... if not your "man", forget about it and enjoy another aspect of the diversity. For your information, Ron Shimek has written an some length about the microfauna in rock and sand. Anthony Calfo>

Worms? Hi, I have attached a picture of a worm I found in my tank. I have noticed them for a while but had not been concerned until I looked under my tank and noticed many (15 or so) of them on the bottom of the tank. I have taken some out of the tank and to stores for identification but the closest "maybe" that I got was that it is a Ball of Yarn Worm. <Mmm, don't know about these names... definitely an Errantiate polychaete annelid/worm. Take a look through the families, pix here: http://www.arl.nus.edu.sg/mandar/yp/EPIC/Descrip.html> If beneficial at this is then great cause I guess they are beneficial. Let me tell you the behavior I have observed. The one I took a picture of is about 4 in long. It's body is dark in the middle and green on the thinner parts. It has many long tentacles. Some of them are red and some are clear with small black dots. They seem to live in the sand, mainly on the bottom and do not like light. I put a power compact under my tank for a couple minutes and most of them had moved off the bottom of the tank. The only time I see them at the top of the sand they only have their tentacles out and seem to be searching for food. I did pick up some of my rock trying to remove more of them and saw one in a hole in the rock. If you know what this is, if it is dangerous, and how to remove them, please let me know. The reason I am concerned is because yesterday I noticed some tentacles coming out of a piece of my live rock and wrapping itself around one of my fish. My fish couldn't get away until I poked my hand in the tank. The tentacle coming out of the live rock was a light pink and did not look like those on this worm but this was what I could get out of the tank. If you have any ideas on what a light pink tentacle (very thin but long) could be too I would appreciate it. Thanks so much! Rian <If there are a bunch of these, too big for your comfort, you can bait, catch them out at night per others efforts... Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/polychaetes.htm, the FAQs files beyond. Bob Fenner>

Worm found in live rock I found a worm in my live rock that I am curing. It is not a bristleworm. It is about 6 inches long, can retract and extend it's head about additional inches. It looks like an earth worm. <See if you cannot find its ID using this webpage, http://www.rshimek.com/animal_identifications1.htm> Eric Thompson Member of PMAS (Pittsburgh Marine Aquarium Society) <The next meeting is Saturday July 27th, 6:00 PM at the Palace Inn in Monroeville. Adam is giving a talk on plumbing. -Steven Pro>

And More Unknown Critters I've got some sort of critter I can't identify on my glass and rock in my reef aquarium. It's light brown in color, about 3-5mm long and 2-3 mm wide, basically flat, appearing thinner at one end. A guy in my LFS told me it was a worm and could cause me some problems. Any idea what this may be, and if it could cause problems? I know this isn't much to go on but I appreciate any help you can give. Thanks, Greg <Try to work your way through Dr. Shimek's ID Key, http://www.rshimek.com/Invertebrate%20Key%20to%20Major%20Taxa.htm Just answer the questions about your critter until you narrow it down to the correct creature. -Steven Pro>

What is this? Dear Bob, Anthony, or Steven, I was hoping you could help me out with identification of what I think is some variety of worm? I have enclosed 2 pictures, though they r not crystal clear, they give you a good basic look at the creature. The first photo is lightly circled in red and the other picture is of it feeding on the acrylic wall. Things I have noticed: 1. Cannot stand light. 2. Has a minute dark green spot at the end of each lobe, which I believe are either mouths or sensors because it searches the substrate (seeming like a snake sniffing the air when it sticks its forked tongue out) and also at times if you look real close you can see the detritus it is collecting by use of its internal conveyor belt. 3. As for its size, it can easily stretch 18 inches long in search for food. Its coloring and shape is comparable to that of Caulerpa taxifolia runners, maybe a tad thinner and bit more translucent. Also, when it is roaming slowly across the substrate, you can tell it is sticky much like the "sticky hand" toy that kids play with (hand with stretchy arm that kids fling and the hand attaches to pretty much anything). 4. Finally, it retreats very quickly inside a hole in the rock (Fiji rock) no bigger than a pin (it is attached inside that hole), folding its lobes neatly before slinking out of sight. I have never seen anything like this in any books, nor have I heard anyone having such an interesting organism. It reminds me of a Terebellid "spaghetti" worm with the way it feeds, but without the mass of tentacles. Yet is shaped like a snake's forked tongue, with the size and translucent glow of a Euphyllia ancora sweeper tentacle. I'm sure you probably know what it is if anyone does and I am sorry if this may seem a bit jumbled, just trying to give you as much information as possible in a hopeful i.d. Thank you so much, <we appreciate the attempt at the photo, my friend... it can be so helpful. Alas... the creature is still too vague in the image. Please do try for a better photo and perhaps post the description on reef central for Dr Ron Shimek... he is a specialist in low life forms (insert you own joke here). In sand beds and rock, that is <G>>

What is That? II Steve Pro, Glad you had a great Father's Day and welcome to the world of parenting. Such a wonderful experience do enjoy every minute! <She is a joy!> I looked on the WWM and found a picture of a Bristle Worm and that is not what I have living in my overflow. The worm I have is all smooth. No leggy things. But still creepy looking. Sorry snakes and creepy crawlies give me the CREEPS. Looks to have a stomach or something towards the end of it, fatter at the bottom if that makes sense. <When you want to know about worms, snails, and other critters, you need to go to the expert, Dr. Ron Shimek. Take a look and try to work through his "Key" to animal ID, http://www.rshimek.com/Invertebrate%20Key%20to%20Major%20Taxa.htm  If it lives in an aquarium, you should be able to find it there.> Thank you, Lori <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

What is That? Conclusion Thank you Steven Pro I was able to find it and quite quickly I might add, this is a great site thanks for the info. It is a Sipunculan or Peanut Worm should I leave it be in the overflow? <Sure> Thanks, Lori <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Worm in filter I just found a six inch worm in my canister filter while cleaning it. <Wow, big bugger!> It looks kind of like an earthworm, but one end sucks into itself. I don't know how it got there, <Larval stage/egg from liverock.> but my question is - should I leave it there? <Probably harmless.> The foam pads in my filter were abnormally free from debris. It is a Fluval 104 canister filter. Is it a good worm, or a bad worm? <Probably fine.> It appears to be a good worm since it cleaned my filter for me. If so, should I put it back into the tank? <Up to you.> Thank you, Kathleen Engell <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Worms now? Hey J/Rob, <<Hello and greetings to you.>> Hope this letter finds you guys in good health. <<It does, and you as well I hope.>> I have what appear to be worms, I believe them to be a bristle worm/fireworm, but I am unsure, I've done some reading on them but I would like to know if what I have is dangerous to my tank and if I need to remove them or just let them flourish. All of these are in my Refugium at least that I can see or know of. The largest is approx 3/4 of an inch long, it is candy apple red with a darker center I would say the color of a Hershey's milk chocolate bar. It appears to have projections all around the body (looks like a centipede because of the "projections " on the side. I hardly EVER see them move, I think they have been in the same spots for that past couple of days. I am trying to enclose a pic but I do not know how it will turn out. Any help that you could give me in IDing these things would be most appreciative and then advice as to what you would with them. Have a great day and thanks for all the help you've already given me. Later In the photo you can see three things all in a line, those are the worms that I'm referring too. The largest is in the middle, and sorry about the quality of the photo, its a webcam, they aren't they best. But I hope it helps you some. Have a good day. Sincerely, John Bernhard <<John, those do look like bristle worms. Photo was more than good enough to make that identification. If I were you, I wouldn't worry at all about these. They are detritivores and are a benefit to your system as well as food for the fish. No worries. Cheers, J -- >>

Re: Worms now? Thanks Much for the info J. I'll leave the worms where they are. <<Sounds good.>> Thanks again.
<<Cheers, J -- >>

Today's Q&A One of the questions I answered came with an attached photo... I wasn't sure what would happen to it so the original message with attached photo is still in my mail box. Please feel free to lift same from the mail from ausnakeguy1@aol.com and the message titled: "Worms now?" <Got it... tiny specks... Bob F> Cheers, J --

EWWWWW! A "Hairy" leech?? Worm ID Hi there! <howdy!> Continued applause on your wonderful and helpful site...I've learned vast amounts from reading page after page of Q&A's. (my eyes will submit a formal complaint to the WWM legal dept.) ;-) <if you knew what we paid our legal dept you wouldn't bother :)> Anyhow, I've established 3 tanks in the past 6 months...a born-again aquarist! a 30 gal and 2 10 gal tanks. A while back I found a black "worm-like" creature, squirming caterpillar-like along the glass. It was about 5mm in length. I examined it closely with a 10X eye loupe and referred to my aquarium references. I really couldn't find any parasite (if that is what it is) that matches the characteristics of this creature. It almost looked like an anchor worm. Well, I wrote the whole incident off as a fluke (no pun intended!). Well, since then I've found two more of these things, one in a different tank then where I found the first (my isolation techniques must have faltered). I still have no idea as to what this is and am hoping that it's merely a benign inhabitant.  I've attached a scan (yep...poor-man's microscope!) of the latest...and biggest one I've pulled off the glass. Any help identifying this beast would be greatly appreciated. And, of course, any remedial action that I need to take, if any. <it appears to be an annelid worm... perhaps a scale worm although a closer image of the head would be needed for the ID. Likely harmless or only mildly predatory. I'm inclined to leave it in place but do remove it to a refugium if you fear for corals or other invertebrates> Once again, thanks for keeping WWM a great site! <our pleasure... do tell a friend> Best Regards, Michael <kindly, Anthony>

Predatory creature ID? Hi WWM Crew, <Howdy!> Question of the, this morning after discovering one of my peppermint shrimp half eaten, cause of death yet to be determined.  I noticed a lot of new creatures in my tank. they were approximately 2 to 3 mm long, white, and swam like an eel. Now the weird part. They would swim up to the glass and seem to get stuck on the glass, then a few seconds later they would start to squirm and wriggle out of a translucent film that was left on the glass and then swim away. the film that was left, seam to get washed off the glass after a few seconds by the current. any ideas? <none whatsoever... thanks for asking :p> Thanks, Barry <in all seriousness... there are many worms commonly imported with live rock and sand and few if any short of a huge bristly fireworm could have killed your shrimp. Do look for another culprit. Test water chemistry and do a water change for starters please. Anthony>

Worm ID - 8/29/03 Hi, while looking at my tank tonight I noticed a small (about an inch when retracted, close to 2" when stretched out) black worm with very thin white rings around the entire body and a thick white ring near the head. Nothing sticking out of it, pointed at both ends and very smooth looking.  It moved across the substrate like an eel would move, ribbon-like I guess you would say.  Any ideas on what this might be?  Thank you for your help. Erika <Hmmm... fresh or saltwater? If saltwater, look to see if it is segmented like a Polychaete. Likely harmless at any rate. Do send a pic of you can. Best regards, Anthony>

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