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FAQs about Marine Worms, Vermiform Animals Identification 6

Related FAQs: Worm IDs 1, Worm IDs 2, Worm IDs 3, Worm IDs 4, Worm IDs 5, 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, & Worms 1, Worms 2Worms 3, Flatworms/Planaria, Fire/Bristleworms

Related Articles: Worms, Featherduster Worms

I WWM! Worm ID please!   2/10/06 Hi WWM, Like everyone else says, your website rocks!  And your help is invaluable! <Bob's website.. he rocks!> I have just setup a small 5 gallon tank (custom designed with a fuge and sump behind a "false wall" kind of like a nanocube).  I added three extremely porous live rock from a friend's established sump.  There are holes everywhere!  It's great, a ton of little pods are all over the place. <Excellent.> After reading horror stories of people finding Eunice (sp?) worms over 6 feet long, I have become paranoid. <No need to worry... unlikely to cause trouble or be able to grow to such a size in this tank. Most are beneficial... embrace the diversity of life in the tank!> I'd rather be safe than sorry about keeping a hitchhiker in my tank, so when one night I flipped on the lights in the room and I saw a plum of "dust" come out of a hole, I realized "uh oh, big hitchhiker". I then turned the lights off for about an hour, came back with a small light, and saw it, here's the description: - A tube like thing coming out of an extremely small hole. - Tube is about 1 inch long, and about twice as thick as a Chaeto strand. (sorry that's all I can gauge it by). - Nocturnal, I've never seen it with lights on, and it ZIPS very fast into it's hole when the lights turn on. - Does not curl up - Mostly brown with some grey. - Impossible to take a picture of without scaring it away with lighting, and I don't have a macro lens right now - It looks like some kind of tube, and doesn't look like it has a head?  at least I couldn't see. - The tip looks a little more grey than the rest of the body - looks more like it contracts than if it scampers into the hole - doesn't have legs as far as I can see, and doesn't crawl. - Sort of floats out rather than crawling out of the hole. - Doesn't really  wave in the water.  It kind of attaches itself flat against the rock, but not by parts of it's body, but looks like it might be attached at the tip. <Could be one of any number of (beneficial) hitchhiker worms. The first thing that springs to mind is a kind of Peanut Worm. Here's a nice article on them: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2004-04/rs/index.php.> I have no corals or fish, since this is the second week, almost third, and I plan to let this tank cycle for a lot longer before putting any livestock in.  Maybe not cycle, but more like establish itself. <Good to hear.> Any ideas?  I really can't get a picture, I hope the description might be good. It looks sort of like a peanut worm, and I have a suspicion it might be. Though does that description sound like a fish eating, human devouring animal?  Or more probably a reef safe worm? <Ah.. you beat me to it. Reef safe...no problems here.> Thanks!!! <You're welcome! John.> - Art

SW Worms... ID, in general - 2/4/2006 Hi, <Hello> I have perused your site at great length and still have a question about some (many) worms that have recently appeared in my healthy 55 gallon marine tank.  I have fish, live rock, cleaner shrimp, hermit crabs, a few different kinds of snails, two urchins, a porcelain crab, emerald crab as well as two brittle stars and an orange Linckia.  My water parameters are all good.  The temperature is approx. 79 degrees.  I have never lost a fish.  The only casualties I have had were when I first set the tank up a year ago and one of the urchins at my feather duster.  I don't keep dusters any longer, not at least, while I have urchins. Recently I started seeing what I thought was some sort of hair algae growing.  Green strands of 'hair' in a few spots around the tank.  There were only a few strands and nothing more than an inch long.  They wave around at times and at other times they are taught as if connect to the rocks at both ends.  I was looking closer and noticed a yellow 'body' or line from which the algae was growing.  A few days later I saw, on the glass, a worm crawling around with these green hair like tentacles coming from random places on its body.  I looked around and can see many more.  I even notice some buried in the sand.   I looked through your website and checked around on other sites and have come up with some conflicting info.  The picture titled 'yellow worm id' which I have attached, is from another user on your site.  It is a picture of what I see in my tank.  The original message is posted at the very bottom of HYPERLINK " http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wormidfaqs4.htm" http://www.wetwebmedia.com/wormi dfaqs4.htm .  Your associate, Anthony, identified this as either a Medusa worm or Spaghetti worm.  I have looked at other photos on your site and around on other sites and the 'yellow worm' in my tank does not look like what is commonly thought of as medusa or spaghetti worms.  The worms in my tank have the tentacles coming from all over it's body, randomly, and the tentacles really look like hair.  The medusa worm and spaghetti worm seems to have much more uniform tentacles coming from specific parts of it's body. Can you let me know what you think about this? <Many possibilities... and I too find these stock "common names" too oft-applied to many polychaete (et al.!) species. W/o microscopic examination, identification of these (and many other) worms even to phylum is just guessing... Most aquatic environments have large to huge populations and diversity in "worms"... and the majority of such are non-problematical to beneficial to aquarium keeping. Bob Fenner> Thanks

Blue Ribbon Worm?   2/1/06 Hi Guys, <Robin> Before I ask my question I just want to say, you guys are awesome and this has got to be the best site in the Web for fish keepers! <Thank you for your kind words> In the last 6 months I've gone from keeping single 150g Loach tank to adding a 75g reef tank to my apartment. Moving slowly, I now have a handful of fish, a couple of coral frags (a thick branch pink birds nest and an amethyst Porites) and recently added some more live rock. Along with the rock I appear to have a brand new hitchhiker. I caught a glimpse of him this morning just before lights on. I ran and grabbed the digital camera and managed to get a couple of good photos of him. <Very nice> After searching your site I've come to suspect he may be some sort of ribbon worm. <Yes... does appear to be a Nemertean> But the photos we not terribly clear so I'm not totally sure (feel free to use any of these photos in the worm ID section if you like). He's a beautiful navy blue color with a jagged white stripe on his head and appears to be velvety in texture. If he is a ribbon worm, any idea what species he is, if he poses a hazard to anyone else in the tank and what he eats? <Can't identify to species... looks like a Notospermus species though... widely distributed throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific> He's one cool looking critter, so if he's a harmless I'd like to try and keep him alive and healthy. Thanks in advance for your help and for such a fantastic site! Robin <I would definitely try to keep this animal about. A beauty. Bob Fenner>

Unidentified Worm...Eunice aphroditois - 01/20/06 Hi, <<Hello>> I have been looking on the website which is absolutely fab..... <<Thanks...and I agree.>> as I had a problem with an unidentified worm. <<ok>> In fact it is very similar to one of your other readers description when he described the worm as having "antennae like a grass hopper, a body like a fire worm, legs like a millipede and a mouth like an eel..." <<Yikes!  Let's hope it doesn't grow to be ten feet long!!!  Oh wait a minute...IT DOES!  You describe what sounds like a Eunice aphroditois.  This thin predatory worm can grow to be surprisingly long: some specimens exceed 10 FEET in length (Brusca & Brusca 1990).>> It is black in colour and scurries about in the rocky outcrops and looks like... well Yuck, but I'm sure his mum loved him!. <<Hee!>> We have a cleaner wrasse, 2 cleaner shrimps, we did have 6 hermit crabs but they seem to have shrunk to 3... <<Hmm...>> 2 clowns, a yellow tang and a regal tang, 1 blue Chromis and 2 damsels.  We have just purchased a green bubble tip and have several small other soft corals.  My question is how do I remove the "bad boy" if that what he is from my tank (55 gallons) without damaging the rest of the occupants.  The tank is 12 months old now and I have only spotted the little fella over the past 2 nights.  Help, I am concerned in case he decides to go on a rampage and would appreciate any advise you could give on removing my unwanted lodger. <<Well Kaz, in general Eunice worms are not considered a substantial risk to most of your aquarium inhabitants.  They do have well developed jaws but their primary diet is other worms, small crustaceans, and tiny molluscs.  If you decide to remove it you can try one of the plastic traps sold for removing bristle worms baited with a small piece of fish or shrimp.>> Thanks, Kaz <<Regards, EricR>>

Worm Question ID - 01/11/06 I found a worm today on my live rock and wondered if good/bad, go or stay.  It looks like the picture that you show as a Chloeia fusca Amphinomid on the site.  Except maybe not as hairy looking. Thoughts???? <<You say "looks like" but not exactly...no way to say for sure but likely a harmless polychaete, and a beneficial detritivore.  EricR>> JB

What's a Regal Worm Rock? - 11/19/2005 I was recently looking around in my local fish store and I saw a "Regal Worm Rock." I have not been able to find what type of worm it is. May you please E-mail me back the genus of worm it is. <I'd love to help, but I'm not familiar with this common name. What does the "worm" look like? My first thought for you is to look into the Polychaete worms of course; second, however, if this worm is actually protruding directly from the rock surface with no hard tube (and feathery in appearance) I would look more specifically to the Serpulids here. Please send at least a description, if not a pic. I should be able to help more from there. - Josh> 

Worms?  11/19/05 Hi crew you have been a tremendous help in the past, I beg to bother you again.  I will give you the fast version, all the water chemistries are normal, all the fish are dead. <Yowzah!> The LFS says maybe ich , or Ick, he tells me to drop the salinity to about 1.013 sg, I did that and let it run for about three weeks as is (with the low salinity) last night I sneak up on the tank late at night (after the lights had gone off) and I see a few interesting worm like thingies on the glass, as soon as the light goes on they slither down, and disappear into the live sand. I manage to catch one and put it under a microscope, It's about an inch in length, full of little leg like things with a mouth on the bottom, it has a reddish/tan color to it, I am lost, is this the murderer of my fish, or just a friendly fellow from the live rock/sand. PLEASE HELP!!! <Much more likely the latter... a polychaete of some sort... Many covered, with many more to be so, on WWM. Bob Fenner> 

Little worm like things under the glass magnet!  11/9/05 Having scanned your brilliant site I am reasonable confident I have nothing to worry about, however just to reassure me. <Okay> I recently purchased a glass cleaner magnet for the first time in 10 years of fish keeping. My tank is a marine Fish set up with a tiny amount of live Fiji branch for decoration. The tank has been running for 8 years. It currently houses one Maroon Clown and Atlantic Anemone, Lipstick Tang, Cleaner Wrasse, Orange File, Blue-Streak Devil, Longnosed Hawkfish, two tiny Red Head gobies and an Orange Spot Goby plus 5 Turbo Snails and four blue leg hermit crabs. Today I moved the magnet from the side pane to the front to give it a quick once over.  As I separated the two sides a noticed a number of small worm like objects moving quite fast between the raised loops on the magnet. I did try to take a picture but the camera was unable to capture them as the are so small, around 1-2mm in length and cream/light brownish colour. The only other thing of note is that the Lipstick Tang has seemed a little off colour (literally) for the past few days. Still eating frozen food but not her usual portion of dry green sheet seaweed. Equipment comprises of a 15w UV, Prizm Skimmer (I know not great but works with loads of fine tuning) two external filters (Eheim Professional II and Fluval 403), a fluidized sand bed. Lighting is an Arcadia four T5 tube (x2 day white/actinic blue) above tanks luminary. Your valued opinion would be greatly appreciated. Gary (London UK) <As you state Gary, no need to be concerned here. The worms are likely one of quite a few species in the tank, more beneficial than otherwise... and your Naso likely "going through a phase" behaviorally... starting to go "off-color" more frequently with age, growth... Bob Fenner>  

Transparent worm 11/2/05 I have a 40 gal. saltwater tank, going for almost a year now, we have live rock and two percula (?) clown fish, we got them after removing a snowflake eel. Just recently, only after the lights go off, I can see a green, transparent worm that appears to be able to stretch himself because sometimes it is over like half of the rock and other times it stretches to the other side of the rock. I believe there is a separation at the end of it (<) and it can move extremely fast, any light or movement and it streaks back into the hole in the live rock. Any suggestions---If we are able to get a pic we will send one. <Many possibilities here... see WWM re worm IDs... likely not a problem to leave in. Bob Fenner> 

Rogue creature, poor grammar 10/25/05 hi all, <Ian> Recently I have lost a ritteri anemone, about 10 button anemones, <Spelling> all my yellow polyps and also orange mushroom polyps. I was mystified and then the other day I noticed what I can only describe as an eight inch long caterpillar looking creature pinkish brown in color with 2 ridges of almost fluorescent green hair along its back. <Heeee! Sorry... an Errantiate polychaete... "bristleworm" of some sort> Any idea what it may be and is it the cause of my recent losses? <Could be involved> I can only imagine its come with live rock bought sometime ago. <Yes. Common> Kind Regards Ian Marvell [ England ] <Uhh, read... here: http://wetwebmedia.com/polychaecompfaqs.htm and the linked files above... Bob Fenner> 

White cysts <likely encrusting, tubiculous worms> - 10/23/2005 I noticed a number of hard white things (cysts?) <I doubt it.>  about the size of a large sand grain attached to the black plastic part of the built-in overflow in the tank. There were about 20 of them and I scraped them off. They didn't come off easily. Now I'm thinking they may have been Ich cysts. <Let's not get hasty!>  All fish are fine in my FOWLR tank.  What do you think they were and is there anything I need to do? <Personally, I'm inclined to believe they would be Polychaetes (likely Spirorbids). Many on my overflow as well. I think you are safe.> Mitch Wohl

Hitchhiker worm 10/16/05 Hi guys, I found a blue worm-like guy working his way across one of my hard corals this morning. Managed to fish him out to try to ID him. Thanks to your site, I guess he's some form of Errantiate, but I can't find any matches for his particular description: 3-4cm long, blue colour, white tentacles on what I assume is the head end, segmented body, each segment bearing a pair of rather stumpy legs, moves by undulation, able to curl up into a ball, no obvious bristles I attach a couple of photos - the second of which shows his belly. What do you think - friend or foe? If benign, I'd like to pop him back in the tank ASAP as I doubt there's much to eat in the Tupperware box he currently calls home! Many thanks for providing such a great resource. jc <Here is the response from Dr. Ron Shimek: I'd need a better shot of the front end to be sure, but it appears to be a Phyllodocid polychaete. These are "active hunters" and generally eat other worms. It has no "gripping" appendages. I suspect it was on the trail of some other worm, which would have been dinner had it caught it. It likely would not harm corals, or any other decorative livestock. Basically, these animals are normal type of the worm fauna of a tank. See these three of my articles: http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-03/rs/index.htm; http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-04/rs/index.htm; and http://reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-05/rs/index.htm. Cheers, Ron  <While Dr. Shimek finds such worms infinitely interesting and would be horrified at the idea of not keeping it, I would suggest leaving it out of the tank and flushing it. It will likely prey on other worms that are beneficial to your tank. If you find this critter interesting as well, you can certainly choose to keep it! Best Regards. AdamC.> 

Hitchhiker worm part 2 10/18/05 Great - thanks for the fast answer crew; I really appreciate it. You know - I've come to like the guy.  I think I'll pop him into my as-yet unstocked refugium and see how he gets on! All the best jc <A refugium is a great place to put this guy, but beware that he might eat some beneficial critters.  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Mystery worm in my tank  9/19/05 I found your website while searching to no avail trying to find out what kid of worm is invading my 30 gal marine aquarium.  The Tank has only 2 clown fish, and a hermit crab.  There is a piece of large barnacle that the clowns hide in and is covered lightly with algae.  On the barnacle there are what looks like several hair thin white worms consistently protruding out about an inch long from the barnacles flapping in the current. <These are no problem... likely spirorbid or other family polychaetes... helpful> We thought that they were worms.  Now we noticed that they are actually antennae or something on the top of a worm like creature that we now see in the crushed coral bottom.  The "Worm" is about 1.5 to 2 inches long hidden in the sand.  the top half is white to clear and the bottom half is dark.  And again there are what looks like two white hair thin antennae protruding from the bottom into the current.  These "antennae" will grab brine shrimp or black worms that land on the bottom and pull them down under the sand.  Do you have a clue what these might be?  if so are they harmful and can they be eliminated? <I would leave these be... Not likely problematical. Bob Fenner> Tanks in advance, Capt. Gerry McDonald 

Spectacular Sipunculids! - 09/03/2005 Hello Wet Web Crew!   <Ahoy thar, matey!> Just had a quick question for you.  I was wondering if this looked like a Peanut Worm to you.   <Yup.  Sure does.> I've searched the internet and found a few pictures of Peanut Worms that looked like this, and several which did not match.  If you have an idea what it is, could you also tell me if this is a harmful species to have in my tank?   <This does indeed look like a Sipunculid to me.  I think they're the coolest worms out there.> Should I search the live rock to find and remove any more that might linger?   <Nope.  Just observe and enjoy.> Thank you. very much for your time!  I really appreciate it! <You bet.>
<Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Corallimorph Explosion? Bob Fenner and crew, Thanks for all the help you offer to us hobbyists at no charge.  <What? Where's the free beer and dancing girls?> You do a great job keeping things going for many of us.  A friend has posted a question on one of the reef forums involving her mushroom corals. It appears to be in the process of spitting out many baby Shrooms all at once. I've seen them divide and split numerous times, but never anything like this. It was suggested that it might be some kind of flatworm, but it doesn't look like that to me. They LOOK like tiny Shrooms. Whatcha think? <Is a flatworm infestation. A few things posted re on WWM. Nice images. Bob Fenner> 

Small white worms all over my aquarium glass 8/19/05 Namaste! Hello people Mitra here.  I'm from India. <Hello, Mitra.> Thanks for the reply my earlier query. Now my aquarium has another problem . there are thousands of small white worms on the inner side of my aquarium glass.  I don't know what they are but actually I can see a lot of them in my tank.  Please tell me what they are and ways to get rid of them, and are they harmful for my fish? <Mitra, do a search on WWM using the keyword 'Planaria' and you will find all the answers you desire.  In short, however, no they are not harmful per se, but are a sign of water quality decline which should be remedied.> Thank You <You too.>                                                              MITRA (--Glenn>

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